Top Tips for Road Travel This Thanksgiving

Posted on by Defensive Driving Team | in Defensive Driving Online, Defensive Driving Tips, Driving and Safety Tips, Driving Distractions

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According to the U.S. Department of Transportation, 91 percent of long-distance holiday travel is made by car. This makes for some very busy roads. The holiday season, especially Thanksgiving, is all about spending time with those you love, so whether it is friends or family, it is always worth making the trip to be with them.

However, with the sheer volume of road traffic that we see in the holiday period, driving over the Thanksgiving holiday period can become quite the hassle. To help you to avoid the rush, and get to your destination safely, here are some handy tips.

safety tips

There are nearly 400 fatalities on American roads each year over the Thanksgiving holiday weekend. Just a few safe practices can really help you on your journey however, and get you and your passengers to your destination unharmed. Here are just a few:

-Plan your route carefully. If you are driving on unfamiliar roads you won’t be able to know if they are potentially hazardous without proper research.
-If it is a long drive, switch drivers every few hours. Drowsy driving is dangerous, especially on busy roads. If you are driving alone, get plenty of sleep the night before, and take a break at a rest stop for a quick nap if necessary.
Do not drive distracted. If you are worried about directions or contacting people, give your phone to a passenger. If you are driving alone, plan out your route carefully ahead of time, and take breaks when you need to check your phone.
-Give yourself an extra hour or two when deciding when to leave. If you are running late you are less likely to drive responsibly.
-Don’t use cruise control on icy roads, or if you are feeling sleepy.
-Check the weather forecast beforehand, and adjust your journey accordingly.

tips for beating the crowds

While keeping safety in mind, you also want to have the most efficient and stress-free journey possible. Here are some tips for dealing with, and navigating around, the holiday traffic:

-Look up traffic and road closure information ahead of time; it’ll save you a big headache. You can use this page on the DOT website to find out traffic and closure information about routes in your state.
-Plan an alternate route. If your first route doesn’t work out, or you see a lot of traffic on Google Maps before you leave, you will be grateful if you plan a back-up route to get there.
-Leave yourself plenty of time. The earlier you leave, the more chance you have of not being late, but also of missing the rush.
-Leave early in the morning on Thursday. The DOT states that more people travel on the roads on Thursday than on Wednesday for shorter distances, but longer distances are spread out evenly between each day over the Thanksgiving weekend. So if you are driving, try to leave either on Tuesday, or early Thursday morning to beat those who will leave around midday to make dinner.
-Leave on Black Friday. Try to avoid that Sunday afternoon traffic at all costs.

Most important of all is to keep safe this holiday weekend. Don’t sacrifice safety for timeliness or anything else. And if you have a drink with your Thanksgiving dinner, do not drive home afterwards. You never know, an extra night with your family might be fun!

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