Thanksgiving is one of the most congested travel days of the entire year. Unless you are able to leave well in advance for the holiday, you’re bound to run into an accident or two on the road. Unfortunately, with an increase in distracted drivers rushing off to Turkey Day celebrations, Thanksgiving is also one of the deadliest holidays due to vehicle accidents.
For this upcoming holiday, the National Safety Council predicts over 44,700 people will sustain injuries and 418 fatalities will occur as a result of car accidents.
Before embarking on your Thanksgiving adventure, help keep your family safe on the road and prepared for emergencies by following these car travel safety tips:
- Plan Ahead: There is nothing worse than a maintenance error in the middle of a car trip. Make sure your car is full of gas, windshield wiper fluid, and in proper running condition before traveling. Packing emergency kits with first aid supplies, water, and food can be helpful in the case of an accident or breakdown, especially if there are delayed emergency response times due to the holiday.
- Think Snow: There may not be snow on the ground when you leave, but that’s not to say it won’t begin to fall along the way. Always plan for snow and snow-related emergencies. Pack snow gear to keep warm and any equipment needed for snow or ice removal to ensure you are prepared for inclement weather.
- Stay Well Rested: Traveling is always stressful, but trying to do it with little to no sleep is almost impossible. Drowsiness is one of the leading causes of accidents on the road. Making sure you are well rested, and alert is critical to maintaining the safety of yourself and others while traveling.
- Drive Sober and Defensively: Drunk driving incidents increase around the holiday season every year. Always stay sober when driving this Thanksgiving, using a designated driver whenever under the influence. Make sure to remain vigilant of other vehicles on the road and never assume you know what decision another driver will make.
- Limit Car Distractions: Long car trips can mean plenty of opportunity for distractions on the road. Do your best to limit distractions inside the car, especially when it comes to the driver. Encouraging passengers to use headphones for their devices, keeping the radio low, and refraining from cell phone use are a few ways to keep your eyes concentrated when driving.
- Share Your Plans: Before leaving for your trip, it’s a good idea to share your travel plans with family or friends. Keeping others informed of where you are going, and when you plan to arrive, can be extremely helpful in the case of an emergency if you are unable to contact a loved one for help.
- Take Frequent Stops: Staying in the car for long periods of time can increase feelings of drowsiness and cause body aches in the legs and back. Making frequent stops, even if just to stretch for a few minutes, can keep you more comfortable and alert to possible distractions on the road. If it’s possible, try to rotate drivers to encourage everyone to get some rest on the way.
Setting aside time to take the proper precautions for your road trip will start you off on the right foot for an enjoyable holiday season. For more information on how to prepare for your Thanksgiving travels, the American Red Cross has some excellent guidance to prepare and stay on the road.
If you or a loved one has been injured in a vehicle accident due to the negligence of another, our dedicated team is here for support. Contact Rosenberg & Gluck, for a free, confidential legal consultation to learn more about your options.