Auto club AAA reports Thanksgiving 2014 is going to be the busiest for travel since 2007. AAA has estimated 46.3 million people will travel at least 50 miles from their homes over Thanksgiving weekend – Wednesday November 26 to Sunday November 30. That projection is a 4.2 percent increase over 2013 and the highest since 2007. More than 89 percent of these holiday travelers will be driving to their destinations.
Part of the reason for this high percentage of road travelers may be gas prices. Fuel prices right now are the lowest they have been in five years, according AAA.
Unfortunately, busier roadways mean increased risks for auto accidents. Consider these tips to help you and your loved ones avoid an accident:
- If possible, avoid travel between 2pm and 5pm. This time period is expected to be the busiest for travel.
- Always wear your seatbelt and make sure your passengers do as well. Seatbelts can prevent fatalities and severe injury in an accident.
- Never drive drunk or buzzed. Research indicates alcohol is one of the biggest factors in holiday auto accidents, as well as deer in the roadway and inclement weather.
- Make sure your vehicle is safe for travel. Tire air pressure should be checked and filled as needed. You should have working windshield wipers and washer fluid. Make sure all vehicle fluids are at the proper levels. Consider a tune-up if your vehicle hasn't been serviced recently.
- Prepare mentally and physically for your road trip. Get plenty of rest so you won't be drowsy, and be prepared to focus mentally, visually and manually on the task of driving. Don't use Smartphones, cell phones or other electronic devices that distract you from driving.
- Be respectful of other motorists and of traffic laws. With delays likely on the nation's roadways this weekend, it's easy to get frustrated and begin speeding or otherwise driving dangerously. Remember that you can drastically reduce the risk of a car accident and spare yourself and your passengers from injury by driving safely and patiently.
- Keep emergency supplies in your vehicle. Useful items that can make a big difference if you do have an accident or car problems include food, water, flashlights, a first aid kit, cash and blankets.
With a little extra planning and preparation, you can prevent getting involved in an auto accident and enjoy a safe, happy Thanksgiving weekend with friends and loved ones.