Safe Driving Tips for Thanksgiving Travel
Thanksgiving drivers can expect delays, weather challenges, extensive lines at auto service shops and frayed nerves. In other words it’s a typical holiday season.
Consider this: A recent study by the National Safety Council ranks Thanksgiving as the deadliest holiday periods of the year. It averages more than 500 traffic fatalities deaths nationally per year for the past two decades.
According to average historical trends, more than one-third of fatalities during the Thanksgiving holiday involve alcohol-impaired drivers.
“While many of us are putting together grocery lists and travel plans for Thanksgiving," said Deborah Hersman of the National Safety Council, “we can’t forget that long holiday weekends are particularly deadly on the roads. Commit to having a driver that is not impaired by alcohol or drugs behind the wheel.”
The California Office of Traffic Safety has some advice to help drivers throughout the US get to their destinations safely.
-Check road weather and road conditions, then plan your route accordingly.
-Prep your vehicle for travel. Has the oil been changed? Does it need to be topped off? Test the brakes windshield wipers, defroster and anti-freeze levels. Are the vehicle heater and exhaust systems in good condition?
-Always check your tires before driving. They are easy to overlook and are crtical to safe driving. Check inflation and give each tire a critical eye for tread wear. Any bald spots?
-Maintain Keep your gas tank close to full. If you get stuck in a traffic jam or in snow, you might need more fuel than you anticipated to get home or to keep warm.
During the trip
-Reduce distractions.Turning off your cell phone or put it on “silent.” Better yet, put it out of reach while driving.
-Create an outgoing message that you can’t answer while you are driving.
-Don’t call or text anyone at any time while driving. Easy to say and hard to do, yet this simple advice is critical for driver and passenger safety.
-Increase following distance on wet roadways or in inclement weather. Leave enough so that you have plenty of time to for sudden stops for vehicles ahead of you.
-If it’s raining, keep your vehicle toward the middle lanes. Water tends to pool in outsides lanes.
-Schedule planned rest stops. Stretch. Grab a bite to eat and return calls or text messages.
-Avoid cruise control during wet or snowy road conditions. Cruise control can cause skidding and loss of tire traction in winter conditions.
-Feeling drowsy? Pull over and rest. It’s not a race to get to your destination, and your family will be safe for it. Get seven to eight hours of sleep before starting a long family road trip. Swapping driving duties.
-Look for signs of driving fatigue. Is your vehicle drifting across roadway lines or hitting a rumble strip? Time to rest, especially if you’re driving alone.
-No alcoholic beverages before setting out on your journey or while en route. Period. Even small amount can impair driving abilities that can turn into disaster on winter roads.
-Using medications or medicinal cannabis? These items may increase drowsiness and impairment, especially when combined.