An estimated 48 million people are expected to travel over the Thanksgiving weekend this year. Almost 90 percent of these travelers will be getting to their destination by car, which means traffic will be heavy on interstates and highways. Preplanning and preparation for the journey can ensure that travelers arrive to their destination safely. AAA and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration have put together a list of travel tips to keep you safe over the Thanksgiving weekend. Following these safety tips can save you time and ensure the safety of your loved ones.
Preparing for Your Journey
- Check all fluids and tires on your car and make sure headlights, windshield wipers, and brakes are in good working order.
- Pack a few water bottles, non-perishable food items, and a blanket or two in the trunk in case you get stuck on the side of the road.
- Check that seat belts are working and secure.
- Consult a map to determine your travel route before you head out to limit dependence on a GPS.
- Let your family and friends know your travel route and the times you are expected to depart and arrive.
- Check the weather conditions along your route to avoid any heavy rain, snow, or high wind.
- Get plenty of rest to avoid drowsy driving.
- Leave ample travel time to compensate for unexpected delays.
During Your Journey
- Put your cell phone in the backseat of your car to avoid distracted driving temptations.
- Make sure the driver and all passengers are wearing their seat belts.
- Have children prepared for the journey with activities to keep them busy. Books, headphones, and electronic devices can keep children quiet and calm.
- Avoid eating or drinking while driving. Pull over to a rest stop to eat along the way, if necessary.
- Make frequent stops on long journeys to stretch your legs, use the restroom, and to get some fresh air.
- Take turns with other drivers in the car to limit fatigue and eye strain.
- Be prepared to alter travel plans if you encounter inclement or dangerous weather, such as heavy rain, snow, or wind. Arriving late is better than not arriving at all.
- Designate a sober driver before getting to your destination to ensure no one is driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
- Keep pets at home, when possible. Animals frequently become car sick or restless, which can be stressful for the animal and those in the car.
- Pick a time to leave before you get to your destination to ensure you are not tired when driving home.
With some preplanning and prevention, you can make this Thanksgiving holiday weekend one to celebrate and enjoy.
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