As Thanksgiving gets closer, many people will hit the road to see family and friends. Travelers may be excited to see loved ones, but driving during the holiday weekend can also be dangerous. It is important that drivers practice safety precautions while traveling for the Thanksgiving holiday.
In 2015, there were 1,645 crashes during the Thanksgiving holiday in Kentucky, which resulted in more than 480 injuries and 8 fatalities, according to the WMKY 90.3 FM. In several of these cases, passengers were not wearing a seatbelt.
It is imperative that drivers stay vigilant and remain cautious when traveling during this holiday. Here are a few safety tips to keep in mind when traveling with your family this Thanksgiving.
Check Your Car
Before hitting the road, you should make sure that your vehicle is in good condition. Check your tire pressure and tread depth to prevent an unexpected flat tire while traveling, according to the American Automobile Association. If the thread is low, you should get new tires immediately to reduce any issues, such as suspension, or wheel balance problems.
You can also check your wiper blades to verify they completely clear the glass with each swipe, according to AAA. If they leave streaks or miss spots, you should replace them to avoid reduced visibility and slowed reaction time.
Be sure to also check your car’s battery to ensure that the battery cable connections are tight, and that there is no corrosion on the terminals, advises AAA. It may be best to get a new battery if your current one is three years old, so that you prevent battery problems while traveling.
Don’t Drive When Sleepy
Drivers may be so eager to get an early start when traveling that they forgo a full night’s sleep. This is not a good thing to do, because you can put your entire family at risk. Drowsy driving is a factor in many accidents, with an average of 328,000 crashes annually, including 109,000 crashes that result in injuries, and 6,400 fatal crashes, according to AAA.
AAA recommends that you avoid driving at dusk, because that is when your circadian rhythms are at their lowest point. You should also make sure to have passenger who is able to drive, if you start to nod off. You could rotate positions and get some rest if you find yourself too tired to drive safely.
If you and your passenger are sleepy, pull over for a short 20-minute nap in a safe place, recommends the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. A nap could help to increase alertness.
While driving for the Thanksgiving holiday, you may want to take off your seat belt in order to feel comfortable behind the wheel. However, you should always wear a seatbelt, because it can save your life.
During the Thanksgiving weekend in 2014, there were 341 fatalities due to traffic crashes across the nation, according to Traffic Safety Marketing, a website that provides resources on traffic safety for states and highway safety professionals. 50 percent of those killed did not have a seatbelt on at the time of the crash.
It is important that you wear your seatbelt at all times and make sure that all passengers are buckled up. You can set a good example for small children by wearing your seatbelt.
Control Your Passengers
If you are traveling with children it may be difficult to keep your focus on the road, because they may constantly seek out your attention. In fact, children are four times as distracting to drivers as adult passengers are, while babies are eight times as distracting, according to AAA.
You should secure your children and pets before hitting the road, as constant movement and playing in the backseat of the car can pose a major distraction. If you need to acknowledge a passenger, don’t look or reach over to the backseat while driving — be sure to pull off the road to a safe location first.
Thanksgiving is an exciting time, but it is also important to keep you and your family safe on the road. However, no matter how safely you drive, there is always the risk of an accident occurring. If you’ve been injured because of the negligent actions of another driver, we can help.
Read more to learn how our car accident attorneys in Bowling Green will fight to get the full compensation you are entitled to after a collision. If you are ready to pursue a claim, fill out our free, no-risk case evaluation form today.