November 14, 2022

What Are Safety Tips for Driving on Thanksgiving?

The Norristown Car Accident Lawyers at Anthony C. Gagliano III, P.C. Advocate for Safe Driving on Thanksgiving Weekend.

The numbers are staggering: It is estimated that tens of millions of drivers and passengers will be on the roads this Thanksgiving weekend, which starts at 5:59 a.m. the Wednesday before the holiday and ends the following Monday. It is not surprising that this time of year is also the deadliest holiday period for drunk driving crashes – The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) claims that from 2015 to 2019 approximately 800 people lost their lives in motor vehicle accidents involving drunk drivers on Thanksgiving weekends. There is no time like the present to learn more about driving safely on Thanksgiving if you plan to travel for the holiday, and there are helpful tips shared below.

Do Not Drink and Drive This Holiday Weekend

Countless numbers of people drink and drive throughout the year, and you are likely to see a few of them on holiday weekends. The telltale signs include swerving, driving too slow, speeding, unexpected sudden maneuvers, and not moving at green traffic signals. Instead of losing your temper, it is safer to keep as much distance as possible between you and the DUI driver. To report one, call 911 (using hands-free technology, or have a passenger do it).

You might be the one having a few drinks to celebrate the holiday, so plan ahead so you will not need to drive afterwards. Choose a designated driver, ask someone to pick you up, or call a rideshare. Another option is to stay overnight at a friend or relative’s house, or to rent a hotel room. As this can get expensive, see if you can split the costs with someone else who can share the ride or room. Buzzed driving IS drunk driving.

How Can I Prepare for Thanksgiving Weekend Trip?

Planning ahead for holiday weekend travel reduces on-the-road stress, yet many people neglect to do it. Start by getting your car ready – make sure the tires are inflated to the proper level, top off your fluids, and clean off the mirrors and windows. Fill up the tank before you leave and plan out the route on your GPS beforehand instead of while driving. Listen to weather reports, as an autumn storm can make driving more difficult and cause traffic to back up.

You may want to start your trip after finishing work on the Wednesday before Thanksgiving, but this is one of the busiest driving times for the weekend. You will encounter less traffic if you leave very early or well after dinner – the Tuesday before or Thanksgiving Day should also be better. Also avoid returning home the Sunday after Thanksgiving unless you have no other choice. The roads will be congested most of the day unless you leave very early or late. When you do head out, accept the fact that you will likely hit some traffic and allow yourself extra time.

For longer trips, be sure to bring along healthy snacks and drinks for you and your gang. It is safest to eat and drink when pulled over at safe locations, especially for drivers. Speaking of which, plan for those rest stops when mapping out your route and ask someone else to drive if you are getting fatigued.

Avoiding Driver Distractions

It is hard enough to ignore your cell phone while driving and having extra passengers in the car presents even more distractions. Silence your phone, but if a message must be sent, read, or listened to, pull over somewhere safe and deal with it. Multi-tasking behind the wheel is very dangerous, so set up your GPS and music before leaving or ask your passengers to manage the mid-trip activities.  If tempers flare up and an argument starts ask everyone to quiet down and if they do not, pull over and wait until they stop.

You can also keep your passengers distracted with quiet activities that keep them occupied. Bring along some books, soft toys if you have younger children, and headphones so they can enjoy music. Messy things like magic markers should be left at home – you might want to consider teaching your kids to knit! Whatever activities you come up with though, there is one thing that is non-negotiable: All drivers and passengers must wear safety belts or be secured in car seats at all times. If a pet is traveling with you, make sure that he or she is in a pet carrier or a pet harness.

More Safe Driving Tips

Since there are so many more vehicles on the road during Thanksgiving weekend you will want to be extra vigilant. Keep a sharp focus on unfamiliar roads that might have surprising turns, unusual speed limits, and other unexpected things. Adhere to the posted speed limits and use your traffic signals when passing and turning. Maintain the proper following distances and never tailgate; doing this while speeding is extremely dangerous.

Keep away from large tractor trailers, which are always out in large numbers on Thanksgiving weekend. Remember that if you cannot see yourself in the truck’s rearview mirror, the driver cannot see you either. Other hazards that you might encounter while driving on roads and highways this Thanksgiving weekend include poor weather conditions, construction sites, road debris, detours, and aggressive, reckless, or distracted drivers. Following the posted speed limits and keeping your focus on the task at hand are the two of the most important ways to prevent accidents.

The Norristown Car Accident Lawyers at Anthony C. Gagliano III, P.C. Advocate for Safe Driving on Thanksgiving Weekend

Getting into a serious car crash on a holiday weekend can ruin your plans but ending up in the hospital can be much worse. Even the most conscientious drivers get into accidents, and if this has happened to you, reach out to the trusted Norristown car accident lawyers at Anthony C. Gagliano III, P.C. Call our Philadelphia and King of Prussia, Pennsylvania offices at 267-861-7100 or complete our online form, and our representatives can set you up for a free initial consultation. We help drivers and passengers throughout Philadelphia, Montgomery County, Delaware County, Bucks County, Chester County, and Norristown.