Travel Safely This Thanksgiving!
According to AAA, the number of Americans traveling for Thanksgiving will increase 11% as compared to last year. This means that almost forty million people will be reaching their holiday destination by driving. With more vehicles on the roads, travel risks increase. Poor weather conditions and distracted driving can cause serious accidents. Munley Law offers these tips to keep you and your family safe this holiday travel season.
Know your route and the risks before you leave your home. Make sure you know the latest weather forecasts and road conditions along your route. Have your directions mapped out in your mind, as well as plugged into your GPS. This will keep you on the most direct, traffic-free path, which can reduce your risk of being in an accident.
Before you get on the highway, prepare your vehicle for long-distance travel. This means checking your tire pressure, inspecting your windshield wipers and washer fluid, and having your radiator and cooling system serviced. Proper maintenance can help ensure you don’t become stranded on your way to your Thanksgiving destination. And it may go without saying, that having a full tank of gas before you begin your journey is essential!
When you’re loading up your car, make sure to pack an emergency kit. Make sure to include a flashlight, blanket, jumper cables, first aid kit, bottled water, and a battery-powered radio. Having emergency supplies in case of an accident or breakdown can make all the difference. And when you’re packing, make sure not to overload your vehicle. Each car has a specific weight limit and going over capacity can put you at a greater risk of a breakdown.
Once you are driving, remember basic road rules that are there for your safety. Always wear your seatbelt and use your turn signals when merging or changing lanes. Abide by the set speed limit. Keep your eyes on the road and avoid distractions. Only use your phone when stopped and never text and drive.
Driving in the right lane is the law for a reason. By not traveling in the passing lane, you can protect yourself from drunk drivers and wrong-way drivers. Often, drunk drivers will drift out of their lane or into oncoming traffic. The further your vehicle is to right side of the road, the safer you are from being side swiped or hit head on by an impaired driver.
To avoid being involved in a trucking accident, do not cut in front of large trucks. Trucks are much heavier than standard vehicles and take longer to come to a full stop, so avoid cutting in front of them quickly or suddenly. Additionally, be aware of truck blind spots. If you cannot see the truck in his or her mirrors, then that truck driver cannot see you or your vehicle.
If you have a particularly long journey, it is important that you take breaks. By trying to push through hundreds or thousands of miles of driving in one sitting, you exhaust yourself and become drowsy. Drowsiness leads to slow reaction times and is a leading cause of traffic accidents.
Finally, if you find yourself broken down, make sure your car is off the road. Stay with your vehicle and do not try to walk to safety. Leave your flashers and overhead light on when the engine is running in order to help rescuers see your vehicle. Tying a brightly colored cloth to your car’s antenna can also help rescuers locate you. Start your car and use the heater for ten minutes every hour. Doing all of these things can help keep your car running and keep you safe until someone comes to your aid.
There are many wonderful things about Thanksgiving and the holiday season. While travel is not necessarily one of them, it can at least be safer and easier this year with a few simple adjustments. So from all of us at Munley Law, safe travels this Thanksgiving, and happy holidays from our family to you and yours.
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