by Tim O’Hare
The Thanksgiving holiday is one of the busiest long-distance travel periods of the year, according to the U.S. Department of Transportation. Travel for Thanksgiving typically spans a six-day period, during which travel on long-distance trips increases by 54 percent, compared to the average over the rest of the year. Surprisingly, Thanksgiving Day is an even busier travel day than the Wednesday before Thanksgiving.
With more people on the roads during the Thanksgiving holiday, more accidents are prone to happen. The National Safety Council ranks Thanksgiving among the most dangerous holidays in America, based on the number of traffic accidents and fatalities that occur. Other dangerous holidays include Christmas, New Year’s, Memorial Day, Labor Day, and Independence Day.
Don’t let a car accident ruin your Thanksgiving holiday. Here are seven tips to ensure safe Thanksgiving travel for you and your family.
- Be sure your vehicle is in working order prior to leaving town. Check your vehicle fluid levels, battery and fill up with gas before leaving. Proper car maintenance and a full tank of gas can go a long way to ensure you don’t become stranded during your travels.
- Have a plan. Be prepared with emergency supplies in case of an accident, breakdown or medical emergency. A basic emergency kit should include a flashlight, blanket, first-aid kit, tools and bottled water. Many accidents occur when drivers become stranded on the side of the highway. If your vehicle breaks down or you are in an accident, remember your safety is most important. If possible, pull the car completely onto the shoulder or off of the road. All vehicle occupants should exit the vehicle on the side opposite oncoming traffic and wait for help as far back from the road as possible. Turn on your hazard lights and set up safety triangles behind and next to your vehicle to warn other drivers.
- Don’t overload your vehicle. Your car has a specified weight limit. Check the load capacity on your car, which is typically printed on a label inside the driver’s side door, to be sure you aren’t overloading your vehicle with luggage and passengers.
- Recognize “Move Over” laws. Keep your eyes out for other drivers who may be stranded. If you see a vehicle on the side of the road, slow down and move over.
- Don’t drive distracted. Drinking and driving, as well as texting while driving are leading causes of accidents nationwide. Drivers who text while driving are four times more likely to be in a car accident. Keep your focus on the road.
- Avoid late night driving. Nighttime makes it more difficult to see the road as well as other traffic. Plan your holiday trip to avoid traveling at night.
- Drive in the right lane. Sticking to the right lane can save your life from drunk drivers, and wrong-way drivers alike. Often times drunk drivers drift out of their lane or into oncoming traffic. The further you are to the right of the road, the better your chances of avoiding being side swiped or hit head-on by a drunk driver.
If you or a loved one has been injured or even killed as the result of a car accident, contact The Law Offices of Tim O’Hare for a free consultation with a Dallas personal injury attorney.
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