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Thanksgiving is a beloved holiday to many Americans. It is a time when we make an extra effort to see family and celebrate our good fortune together. To many, that means driving.
Nearly 43 million Americans will take to the road for the holiday. Many of them will be driving for 50 miles or more.
Take the time before you go to consider the following safety tips to help avoid car accidents on a road trip.
Make sure your car is ready for the trip. A small effort to perform a maintenance check can avoid a big inconvenience later.
Tires, Tread and Fluids: Check tire pressure and tread depth. One trick for checking tread depth: place a penny into the tread with Lincoln’s head toward the tire. You should not be able to see the top of Lincoln’s head.
Check oil, wiper fluid, and gas. Fill them up before you leave.
Weather: Check the forecast before you leave. Weather this time of year is unpredictable. Particularly in the northeast, this can help reduce the risk of driving on slippery and hard to see black ice.
Know Where You are Going: Distracted driving accounts for more and more accidents each year. Be sure you know the route and have directions at the ready without needing to fiddle with your phone or a map while driving.
Use a GPS navigation system if you have it. In addition to providing directions, they can also locate gas stations or restaurants on the route. Most GPS systems can also alert you to traffic disruptions and congestion and suggest alternative routes.
Expect traffic: Thanksgiving is the most heavily traveled holiday of the year. You will not be on time if you do not account for traffic. Add a buffer of time for the traffic and you will not be stressed or late. Consider traveling at off-peak times to avoid the worst of it.
Rest: Drive when you are alert and well rested. If you lead a stressful life, you may need to make an extra effort to get a good night’s sleep the day before you travel. Driving while tired can have an impact similar to driving while intoxicated. Reaction times, concentration, and coordination can all be compromised if you drive tired.
Avoid Distractions: Two seconds of distraction has been correlated with doubling the chance of an accident. Focus on the road to make sure you see what is coming and can react accordingly.
Seatbelts Save Lives: Everyone in the car should wear a safety belt, especially small children, who should be properly buckled into compliant car seats. Safety belts reduce the risk of fatalities by 45 percent.
Plan Ahead: Have a game plan for spending a long time in the car. The more prepared you are for the trip, the better. Particularly if you are traveling with kids. They can get bored or cranky on long trips. Anticipate this and have adequate water, snacks, games, music, and allow for rest stops.
Take these few precautions to ensure you can enjoy your visit with family and/or friends this Thanksgiving.
If you have been injured in a car accident, the Bear car accident lawyers at Rhoades & Morrow are ready to assist you. You can get a free consultation by completing our online form or calling us at 302-834-8484. We serve clients throughout the state of Delaware from our offices in Wilmington, Bear, and Milford.