Thanksgiving is almost here and that means millions of Americans will be hitting the road to join family and friends. Unfortunately, with so many vehicles on the road, there is a much higher risk of an accident. That is why it is so important to be extra cautious by carefully planning your trip and driving defensively.
Below, learn more about how to plan for a safe Thanksgiving road trip and what driving behaviors to avoid. Driving is usually the most popular method of transportation on Thanksgiving. In 2015 alone, approximately 1.5 million Arizona residents drove to their destination compared to about 345,000 residents who flew. However, if you plan accordingly, you may be able to avoid the heavy traffic. The Wednesday before Thanksgiving is the biggest travel day of the year, so try to leave on Tuesday if possible. If you cannot avoid traveling on the Wednesday before, try to leave before 2 p.m. or after 7 p.m. Traffic should be lighter so it should be a little easier to avoid a crash.
When possible, plan your trip to avoid being on the road at night. If you can simply reduce the amount of time you will be on the road at night, that can be very helpful as well. You should also check the weather forecast before you go. Maybe there is a time you can leave when you will avoid bad weather (snow, rain, icy roads). This includes things like impaired driving and distracted driving. You should also avoid speeding – which can be a lot easier if you give yourself enough time to make it to your destination, so you do not need to rush.
Distractions include cellphones, social media, fiddling with the radio or GPS system, eating or drinking, engaging in intense conversations with passengers, and dealing with noisy children. If you need to make a call, have an in-depth conversation or deal with problems with your kids, pull over so you can give the situation your full attention. You should not be splitting your attention between driving and anything else.
Make sure to drive defensively by maintaining a safe distance between your vehicle and others, using your turn signals when turning or changing lanes, checking blind spots, obeying the speed limit, and being aware of the vehicles around you. You cannot always trust other drivers to be safe, so you need to be prepared to slow down, change lanes or make other maneuvers to avoid an accident.