48.7 million Americans will travel at least 50 miles across Alaska and the rest of the nation during the Thanksgiving holiday running from Wednesday, November 23rd through Sunday, November 27th according to an estimate by AAA.
Most of those travelers will do so by driving to and from their destination.
While Wednesday is generally considered the busiest travel day, more people travel by automobile on Thanksgiving Day itself. To keep yourself safe in your journeys this Thanksgiving, you should follow these safety tips:
1. Get enough rest
Make sure you get enough sleep and eat a decent meal before beginning your journey. Don’t rely on caffeine to keep you awake and alert.
2. Check your vehicle fluid levels, battery and fill up with gas
Using proper car maintenance and beginning with a full tank of gas will go a long way to ensure you keep from becoming stranded during your travels.
3. Have a plan
Be prepared with emergency supplies in case of an accident, breakdown or medical emergency. A basic emergency kit should include a flashlight, blanket, first-aid kit, tools and bottled water. Many accidents occur when drivers become stranded on the side of the highway. If your vehicle breaks down or you are in an accident, remember your safety is paramount. If possible, pull the car completely onto the shoulder or off of the road. All vehicle occupants should exit the vehicle on the side opposite oncoming traffic and wait for help as far back from the road as possible. Turn on your hazard lights and set up safety triangles behind and next to your vehicle to warn other drivers.
4. Heed “Move Over” laws
Become familiar with “Move Over” laws. Stay alert for other drivers who may be stranded on the sides of the road. When you see a vehicle stranded on the side of the road, be sure to slow down and move over.
5. Don’t drive distracted
Texting while driving and, of course, drinking and driving, are leading causes of accidents nationwide. In fact, drivers who text while driving are four times more likely to be in a car accident.
6. Avoid late night driving
The darkness of the night makes it difficult to see the road as well as other traffic. If possible, plan your trip to avoid traveling at night.
7. Drive in the right lane
Driving in the right lane can keep you safe from drunk and wrong-way drivers. Drunk drivers have a tendency to drift out of their lane or into oncoming traffic. By staying to the right of the road, you increase your chances of avoiding being side swiped or hit head-on by a drunk driver.
8. Keep an eye on the weather
Check the weather reports, and if you can, plan a route around inclement weather. A simple detour could save you major time as well as decrease the dangers of traveling through bad weather.
9. Buckle up
Make sure everyone in your car buckles their seat belt. Not only will it keep you safe, but in most places it’s also the law.
10. Lock up your valuables
Lock up your valuables and gifts in the trunk or glove compartment and keep your luggage in the trunk. Don’t leave items that might be tempting to thieves in plain sight.
By following the above safety tips, and applying some common sense, you can increase the chances of a safe trip to and from your Thanksgiving destination and avoid having to consult a personal injury attorney!