Thanksgiving celebrations may be different for families this year, but many still plan to travel. With so much uncertainty these days, understanding the dangers of driving during the holiday week is more important than ever.
Although the American Automobile Association (AAA) provides travel forecasts for all the holidays, it is difficult to estimate how many people will be on the roads this year due to the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. It is possible that more people will be driving instead of flying, but it also depends on what parts of the country the travelers reside in.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reported 432 traffic fatalities during Thanksgiving weekend in 2018. The National Safety Council (NSC) estimates that there could be more than 50,300 non-fatal car accidents. Besides having more drivers on the roads, other reasons for the upsurge in accidents and fatalities include drunk driving, drowsy driving, and poor weather conditions. These sobering facts are a good reason to think about ways to drive more safely during Thanksgiving week.
How can I Prepare for a Long Drive?
There are many steps that a traveler can take before a long drive to help avoid an accident:
- Maintain Vehicle: Getting the vehicle ready in advance is a good start. Checking tire pressure and filling up the tank is recommended.
- Share Travel Plans: Sharing the travel plans with family or friends is important in case there is an emergency.
- Have an Emergency Kit: Putting an emergency kit in the trunk is also wise, especially for a long trip.
- Plan Route: A driver should map out their route to see if there any delays or hazardous conditions.
- Check Weather: Before driving, check the weather report and plan accordingly.
- Rest: Get a sufficient amount of sleep the night before to prevent drowsy driving.
- Avoid Rushing: Allowing extra time for driving is beneficial. Heavy traffic is a distinct possibility.
How to Drive Safe During Thanksgiving Week
Thanksgiving week is associated with overeating and overdrinking, and the NSC urgers drivers to not drink and drive. They also pointed out the hazards of driving under the influence of drugs, especially since cannabis has been decriminalized in some states. Appointing a designated driver or contacting a rideshare service are easy ways to avoid drunk driving.
Staying focused on the road at all times is also important, so a cellphone should be put on Do Not Disturb mode. Eating, drinking, playing with a pet in the car, and arguing with passengers are forms of distracted driving. Always keep one’s attention on the road.
It is also important to drive defensively. If another driver is tailgating, speeding, changing lanes abruptly, or exhibiting other unsafe behaviors, it is best to stay as far away as possible. When it is safe to do so, a passenger can contact law enforcement to report the unsafe driver. Staying calm is the safer move. If a car accident does occur, a victim should seek advice from a lawyer as soon as possible.
Oakhurst Car Accident Lawyers at the Falcon Law Firm, LLC Advocate for Safe Driving During Thanksgiving Week
During the holiday week, drivers should be extra cautious. If a car accident does happen, we can help. Our Oakhurst car accident lawyers at the Falcon Law Firm, LLC protect car accident victims against negligent drivers. For a free consultation, contact us online or call us at 732-660-1200. Located in Oakhurst, Parlin, and Aberdeen, New Jersey, and Doylestown, Pennsylvania, we serve clients throughout Asbury Park, Belmar, Deal, Ocean Township, Point Pleasant, Long Branch, West Long Branch, Sayreville, Middlesex County, and Monmouth County, New Jersey, as well as Bucks County, Pennsylvania.