For most people, Thanksgiving is a time for getting together with family, enjoying a hearty meal, and perhaps gathering around the TV to watch football. The days surrounding this holiday are among the busiest on United States roads – and unfortunately, Thanksgiving is associated with a higher number of fatal traffic crashes than any other holiday.
If you’re traveling to spend time with family this Thanksgiving, or even just making a quick trip to the store, the following tips can help you stay safe on the road.
The distance of a car ride has nothing to do with crash risk, yet when many people are driving just a block or two, they think they don’t need to buckle their seat belts. In all of 2016, 10,428 people who hadn’t fastened their seat belts died in traffic crashes. Always fasten your seat belt, and make sure everyone in your car buckles up, too.
Avoid Drowsy Driving
Eating a large meal can bring about intense drowsiness, so always allow time to digest a meal and make sure you’re alert before driving. And if you have a long road trip, try to take frequent breaks and share driving time with another person.
Choose a Designated Driver
Around Thanksgiving, many adults returning to their hometowns enjoy getting together with friends they haven’t seen in a while. It’s easy to overindulge in alcohol when reminiscing with old friends. If your plans include drinks with friends, choose a designated driver, or take an alternative means of transportation to get home.
Maintain Your Vehicle
Before heading out on a long road trip, make sure your car is in good working order. Schedule an oil change – mechanics typically top off any fluids your car needs and make a point of telling you when they discover problems that should be repaired.
Be Cautious Around Other Cars
Even when you follow traffic rules and avoid behaviors that increase your crash risks, you have no way of knowing if other drivers are equally cautious. If your plans require you to drive late at night (when most bars close), be especially alert to the possibility that some drivers you encounter on the road may be intoxicated. If you notice a car ahead of you repeatedly drifting out of the travel lane, keep a safe distance – and if you can do so safely, call the police.
If driving with another adult, let that person handle any text or phone communication with relatives when the car is in motion. They can also help navigate, so you can keep your eyes on the road. If other passengers (including antsy children) are distracting you, ask them to be quiet.
Eating and drinking are distractions, too. So even if you’re tempted to eat while driving so you can reach your destination quicker, stopping to eat is a safer alternative.
Plenty of people have a nice, enjoyable Thanksgiving and make it home safely. Being cautious while driving and remembering basic precautions can help you and your family stay safe during the Thanksgiving season.
If you suffer an injury in a Thanksgiving traffic crash, the attorneys at the Austin, TX-based Evans Law Firm can help. As personal injury attorneys with years of experience, we help the people of Texas put their lives back on track. We offer small law firm attention with big law firm results. Call today at (855) 414-1012 or fill out this online contact form to find out how we can help you.