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Safe Driving at Thanksgiving Time

Safe Driving at Thanksgiving Time

This November, many Americans will set aside a day to be grateful. Over 50 million Americans are expected to travel to visit family during Thanksgiving week, many of them embarking on long road trips. All those vehicles on the road make safety behind the wheel even more important. Whether or not you will travel far from home, how can you stay safe on the road?

Designate your driver

In a recent four-year period, more than 800 people died during the Thanksgiving holiday weekend (from Wednesday evening to Monday morning) in accidents involving drivers under the influence of alcohol. Since alcoholic drinks can be an important part of the festivities for many people – especially on the eve of Thanksgiving – plan ahead to designate who will drive home. Or you can opt to use a taxi or rideshare service.

Be aware of other drivers

Although you are a responsible driver and will not get behind the wheel if you’ve consumed alcohol, not everyone will be as careful. Be aware that other drivers, whether they’ve consumed alcohol or are simply distracted by holiday plans, may act erratically on the road. They may stop or turn suddenly, swerve out of their lane, or speed up or slow down at unexpected times. Protect yourself by leaving enough space between your vehicle and the one in front of you, and drive defensively.

Watch for inclement weather

With a particularly cold and wet winter already blanketing many parts of the country, be aware of driving conditions in the area where you’ll be traveling. If you’re not used to driving in snow – or haven’t done it in some time – check the weather and road conditions frequently. If there’s snow in the forecast, brush up on your winter driving skills and prep your vehicle accordingly.

Also, make sure you remove any ice and snow from your vehicle. That includes, not just the windshields, but also the roof, hood, and other areas. That way you will have fewer blind spots and can preserve maximum visibility. Of course, if you do not have snow flying off of the roof of your car, then you also help the drivers behind you maintain visibility! And as always, buckle up! And make sure your children are buckled in according to their age and size.

Be patient

When planning a long trip, stress is common! Plan to leave home early so that you can arrive at your destination on time without stress or anxiety. Keep in mind that due to heavy traffic, travel can be delayed three times longer than the same trip on a non-holiday! However, even if you are running late, take the time to slow down and thus avoid accidents on the road. If possible, choose alternate travel dates to avoid those millions of Americans who are traveling on the same weekend.

Be at your best

Stay hydrated while on the trip. While it can be tempting to avoid consuming liquids to minimize bathroom stops, dehydration behind the wheel can lead to a lack of alertness. Additionally, get enough rest before a trip. Before heading home after a full turkey dinner, consider taking a brief rest so that you’ll stay awake. While on the trip, make frequent stops to rest and stretch out your legs – at least every 100 miles. Watch for signs of drowsiness such as excessive yawning, drifting out of your lane, an inability to focus, or missing important traffic signs.

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