Thanksgiving Driving Tips: Traveling Safe in 2014

20 Nov

Thanksgiving is a time for gratitude, family, food and, for many of us, lots and lots of driving. Over 40 million drivers take to the roads every Thanksgiving weekend to spend time with the loved ones that make the holiday worth celebrating. Although this is a warm and loving time of year, it’s also one of the most dangerous times to be on the roads and highways across America. Read these Thanksgiving driving tips to stay safe this holiday and arrive at your destination with ease.

thanksgiving

Photo by Satya via Flickr

Plan Ahead

There’s nothing more stressful than running late when everyone is depending on you to be on time. You should expect to encounter traffic that’s worse than normal, so plan to leave a half hour or a full hour ahead of schedule to avoid stress on the road and at your holiday destination. To make travel even easier on yourself, make sure that you vehicle is ready for long distance, stop-and-go travel before you leave the garage. Make sure that your windshield wipers work well, that you have enough wiper fluid, that your tires are properly inflated, and that no service lights illuminate your dashboard.

Pack Wisely

Simply packing your favorite casserole and pumpkin pie won’t cut it if you’re traveling by car Thanksgiving weekend. Make sure that you aren’t putting more weight in your car than your vehicle can handle and that the gear in your car is properly stowed so that it won’t shift at an abrupt stop. If you’re traveling with kids or pets, make sure your little ones are secure in their respective seats and that they are equipped with food, water, and toys to keep them entertained during the drive.

Choose Alternate Travel Days

If possible, leave a day early and stay an extra day at your Thanksgiving destination to avoid traffic hassles and potential roadside headaches. Another good idea is to use a GPS device with real-time traffic information to keep your options open for alternate routes. Make sure that you are rested and alert to drive and make frequent stops to give you and your passengers a break.

Watch the Weather Reports

In many parts of the country, Thanksgiving weekend means the potential for hazardous weather. Watch the weather reports before you set out for the weekend and before you travel back home to make sure that the roads aren’t too treacherous to drive.

Avoid Distractions

Distracted driving is never good idea, whether it’s a holiday weekend or any time of the year. But the holidays do have a way of taking our minds away from common sense practices, like driving safely and responsibly. Even if your mother-in-law is calling and texting you non-stop on the drive, ignore all distractions until you are able to safely pull off the road and respond. Cell phones and holiday traffic don’t mix, and no call or text is worth risking your life over. From our families to yours, have a wonderful and safe Thanksgiving holiday this year!

 

Wondering how many people will be joining you in Thanksgiving Travel? We’ve updated our infographic for 2014 travel predictions!

 

Thanksgiving Travel 2014

6 Responses to “Thanksgiving Driving Tips: Traveling Safe in 2014”

  1. Sober Driving November 25, 2014 at 1:55 pm #

    These are great guidelines to keep in mind as your packing up your car and venturing off to a relative’s or family friend’s house for Thanksgiving.

    As you mentioned, the Wednesday before Thanksgiving is one of the busiest days on the road, so you want to be as prepared as possible. Expect delays and many frustrated drivers. People want to try to make it to their destination at a reasonable hour that Wednesday night, so you may also be exposed to excessive speeding and reckless driving, resulting in more accidents on the roads.

    Another big safety hazard that comes to my mind when I think about driving home for Thanksgiving is “Black Out Wednesday,” meaning many people take to the bars the night before Thanksgiving. This coined term is rising in popularity, and with this influx of drunken people comes a substantial increase in drunk driving. It is estimated that 40% of highway deaths are alcohol related around Thanksgiving, compared to 31% the rest of the year. That 10% increase should definitely grab your attention.

    I have found that the best way to approach this vulnerability is to practice caution. Keep a safe distance from cars, especially if you notice any swerving. If you do witness drunk driving, it is vital to report it immediately. Cities across the country are promising to crack down on DUI enforcement as the holiday season ramps up, but you can never be too careful!

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