Thanksgiving Driving Tips
Most people wish to spend Thanksgiving with their families, which means many drivers on the highway. The national rates of car accidents, serious injuries, and deaths spike over the Thanksgiving season. From 2012 to 2016, more than 800 people died in drunk driving accidents from the Wednesday before Thanksgiving to the following Monday. Statistically, Thanksgiving is the deadliest holiday on the road. This year, use these safe driving tips from our Phoenix car accident lawyers to arrive to the table alive.
Plan Your Trip Ahead of Time
A major holiday like Thanksgiving requires some preplanning for optimal roadway safety. First, check the weather where you’ll be driving. It may differ from the weather conditions you’re used to, especially if you’re going to a different state. Find out if you should expect any hazards such as snow, sleet, rain, or fog and plan accordingly. Map out your route. Familiarize yourself with the roads you’ll need to take to get to your destination.
Prepare Your Vehicle
Thousands of holiday accidents arise due to lack of proper vehicle maintenance. Keep yourself and others safe by inspecting your vehicle and getting repairs prior to embarking on your Thanksgiving trip. Bring your vehicle to the mechanic and explain that you’ll be taking a road trip, or inspect the car yourself.
Check your fluids (including windshield wiper fluid), tire pressure, lights, brakes, and windshield wipers. If you notice anything wrong, pay for repairs before you leave. Make sure you have the correct tires on your vehicle if you’ll be traveling in ice or snow.
Drive on Less-Popular Travel Days
The day before Thanksgiving and the Sunday after are the two busiest days on roads throughout the country. Try to plan your arrival and departure for other dates, such as the week before Thanksgiving and the Tuesday after, for less-congested roads. Fewer vehicles on the roads means less opportunity for someone else to strike you. If you have to drive during peak driving hours, give yourself plenty of time to get there. Speeding and traffic-related frustration could lead to an accident.
Bring an Emergency Kit
Even the best-laid plans may go awry if you encounter bad weather, a nail in your tire, or a dead battery. Pack an emergency kit with nonperishable food, water, a flashlight, extra batteries, a radio, a portable cell phone charger, blankets, and some basic tools in case of an emergency. Check your spare tire before you hit the road. Keep the phone number of an emergency roadside assistance service handy in your glovebox.
Remember the Three Ds: Never Drive Drunk, Distracted, or Drowsy
Three of the deadliest things on the road – especially around Thanksgiving – are drunk drivers, distracted drivers, and drowsy drivers. These bad driving behaviors cost thousands of lives around the holidays every year, yet they are all entirely preventable. Don’t be the reason you or someone else doesn’t make it to or from Thanksgiving alive. Follow these rules for safe driving:
- Never get the behind the wheel after having alcoholic holiday drinks. Designate a sober driver or stay put until you’ve sobered up.
- Put your phone away while you drive, or put it in a dashboard holster if using it for directions. Never text and drive.
- Don’t depart late at night or aim for an overnight trip unless you’ve gotten plenty of sleep beforehand. Otherwise, recognize the signs of drowsy driving and when to pull over.
The decisions you make as a driver could mean life or death around Thanksgiving. Be a safe driver and look out for others by dedicating 100% of your attention to the road, 100% of the time. When in doubt, wait it out – don’t drive unless you’re certain you’re in a condition to do so safely. Otherwise, you aren’t just jeopardizing your own life, but the lives of everyone else you encounter on the roadway. Stay safe this holiday season.