Thanksgiving is one of the biggest holidays of the year when it comes to road trips, and the American Automobile Association (AAA) predicts that this year will be no exception. After a dip in numbers due to the coronavirus pandemic last year, the AAA expects travel volumes to return to within five percent of the pre-pandemic levels of 2019.
Each year, over 50 million people travel for Thanksgiving, mostly by car. With everyone eager to visit their loved ones, it is important to prepare for the increase in traffic so that your holiday drive will be a safe one.
Plan Your Trip
The best way to stay safe over the Thanksgiving holiday period is to plan ahead of time. In major metropolitan areas, drivers can expect to see more than double the delays, starting on Wednesday afternoon. Try to plan your trip to avoid the busiest and most congested traffic times. Fewer cars on the road reduces your chance of being involved in a car accident.
If you are driving on the Wednesday before Thanksgiving, the best time to hit the road is early morning or in the evening after the traffic rush is over. On Thanksgiving, drivers will see the least traffic congestion if their trip is completed before 11:00 a.m. The worst traffic on Thanksgiving occurs between noon and 3:00 p.m.
It is also important to check the weather forecast before you start your trip. Weather in fall is unpredictable and can be dangerous. If the weather seems bad, do not drive at all. Adjust your schedule accordingly if a storm system is approaching.
Before hitting the road, program your navigation system. Leave plenty of time to get to your destination so that you do not feel the urge to drive faster than the posted speed limit. Speeding is a leading cause of car accidents.
Prepare Your Vehicle
Well before you make any road trip, do a thorough check of your vehicle. This should include all of the following:
- Wiper blades: If your wiper blades have degraded and need replacing, do it now before you are on the road and realize you cannot clear the windshield. Good visibility prevents accidents.
- Wiper fluid: Check your wiper fluid level, and refill it if necessary. While you have the hood up, check all of the fluid levels. Take your car for an oil change if it is time.
- Tire pressure and tire treads: In the morning or while the tires are cold, check the pressure, and make sure they meet the specifications listed on the inside of the door frame. Proper tire inflation gives you the best control over the car when steering and braking.
- Battery: Have your mechanic check the charge on your car battery, and replace it if it is low. Cold weather requires more power from your car’s battery.
- Spare tire and emergency kit: No one wants to miss Thanksgiving dinner because of a flat tire or another road emergency. Before your road trip, check that your spare tire is in good working order and that you have jumper cables, first-aid supplies, blankets, and extra food and water.
Be Well-Rested for Your Trip
Drowsy driving is something to take seriously because many studies have shown that drowsy drivers have the same level of impairment as drunk drivers. The week before a road trip, try to make sure you are getting enough sleep so that you are well-rested for your Thanksgiving drive. Staying hydrated throughout the trip is important for avoiding fatigue, so bring plenty of water along for the ride, and take regular breaks as well.
Avoid Distracted Driving
With a carload full of children and pets, it may be hard to keep all of your attention on the road. New cars are also packed with distracting technology, like navigation and entertainment systems. Distracted driving is a factor in many car accidents, so be vigilant. You should take the following measures before your Thanksgiving road trip:
- Designate another adult to attend to young passengers and their needs. Secure pets in a crate or with a harness.
- Call or text family to inform them you are leaving, and then put away your cellphone while driving, or turn on the Do Not Disturb mode while you are traveling.
- Program navigation and music before you begin your drive.
Designate a Driver
Many family celebrations and holiday parties include alcohol consumption. If you will be partaking, then getting behind the wheel of a car at the end of the evening is not appropriate. Before the party starts, designate a driver who will not be drinking, use public transportation, order a taxi or rideshare service, or make plans to stay overnight.
By following these tips and arming yourself with patience for the holiday traffic, you can arrive safely to your Thanksgiving destination.
Mount Laurel Car Accident Lawyers at the Law Office of David S. Rochman Can Help You After a Holiday Accident
Thanksgiving fills the roads with drivers, and not all of them are experienced or responsible. If you have been injured by a negligent motorist, contact our Mount Laurel car accident lawyers at the Law Office of David S. Rochman. Our legal team will investigate your potential case. Call us at 856-751-2345 or complete our online form today to schedule a free consultation and to learn more. We are located in Mount Laurel, New Jersey, and we proudly serve clients throughout the surrounding areas.