Thanksgiving feasts and days spent with family mark the official start to our holiday season each year. According to the Department of Transportation, Thanksgiving is also the busiest time of the year, with more than 35 million people traveling by car to visit family and friends.
Combine distractions of a family road trip and an increase in traffic, and accidents are bound to happen.
Before you hop behind the wheel this Thanksgiving, check out our 10 tips for travel to ensure a safe and happy holiday:
- Make a list, and check it twice. Include tasks that must be completed both in your home and car before heading out. Creating a thorough checklist will help you avoid mistakes, like leaving the back door unlocked, and ensure no important items are forgotten, like your mother’s favorite cookbook.
- Visit your mechanic. Ensure your car is in great condition by scheduling an appointment with your mechanic. Tire pressure, fluid levels, windshield wiper quality, and brakes should all be tested and replaced if necessary.
- Pack snacks, drinks, and activities. Keep children occupied during long car trips to minimize distractions due to boredom and reduce travel time with less frequent stops.
- Get a good night’s sleep. It is important to sleep a full seven to eight hours the night before a trip. If you begin to feel tired, switch drivers or schedule an overnight stay to be safe.
- Check the conditions. Research weather, traffic, and possible road construction that may occur during your trip. Review local and state traffic laws as well, especially regarding cell phone use, to avoid tickets or fines.
- Prepare an emergency kit. In the event of an accident, you’ll be happy you packed the following items: Flashlight, flares, jumper cables, water, a disposable camera, notepad and pen, and your insurance cards.
- Beat the crowd. If possible, plan to leave a day early for your holiday trip and avoid the majority of road congestion.
- Click it or ticket. Seatbelts saved more than 12,000 lives during the Thanksgiving holiday in 2011, according to the Department of Transportation. Keep your family safe by properly buckling up before starting the car.
- Secure your pets. A pet that is not buckled or placed in a safety harness could become a dangerous projectile during an accident. Avoid injury to your loved ones by always securing your pets before a road trip.
- Avoid distractions. Distracted driving is the number one cause of car accidents in America. Avoid texting, eating, and other activities while behind the wheel and pay attention for drivers that may be engaging in these distractions.
In the event of an accident, remain calm and contact the local authorities to file a report. Also, read our guidelines to learn what you should do next.
From everyone at McAleer Law, we hope that you have a safe, and enjoyable, Thanksgiving!