Thanksgiving 2017 broke the record for holiday travel. An estimated 51 million people in the US left home for Turkey Day celebrations and travelled at least 50 miles to their destination. While car travel equals the primary choice for Thanksgiving, airports and train stations fill up with holiday goers as well, so it’s important to be aware and safe if you too are leaving home this year for turkey and stuffing.
Thanksgiving is the second most dangerous holiday out on the road. Only the 4th of July is more dangerous. While fatalities were down, between 2001-2006, over 500 were reported annually during this travel period. The primary cause, many employers don’t give people the Wednesday before off, forcing people to travel on Thanksgiving Day. This tends to cause people to rush, drive distracted, and be fatigued on the road.
In Georgia alone, the Department of Public Safety predicted almost 3,000 traffic crashes over Thanksgiving this year. This will lead to around 1,300 injuries and 20 deaths, so it’s important to travel as safely as possible this holiday season.
Driving to your destination
Preparing to safely drive to your Thanksgiving Day dinner starts the night before departure. Make sure you get enough rest to stay fully aware while on the road. You don’t want to be impaired in any way when you get behind the wheel, and while most people worry about drinking too much, being exhausted while driving can be equally dangerous.
Next, check driving conditions before you leave. Often this time of year weather is unpredictable, so you’ll want to know what’s coming. Watch out for hazardous weather that can lead to treacherous roads. Driving through severe storms can also be dangerous because of decreased visibility or slick roads. Consider altering your driving plans if the weather report shows storms on the horizon.
With the green light to hit the road, make sure when packing up your car that you can still see through all mirrors. Overloading your car can impair your vision. It may also put more weight into your car than it can safely transport. Secure everything so nothing shifts around too much while on the road as well.
Most importantly, while you’re on the road, don’t drive distracted. Everyone always gets more chatty en route to a holiday, but resist the urge to talk on your cell continuously as the driver. Any texts can wait until you’re able to pull over and fully stop. Missed calls will go to voice mail so you can check them when it’s safe. Consider using an app like Waze for directions so that you can share your ETA with the family waiting for you to arrive. This way they’ll know when you’re coming and won’t have to call or text to ask, leaving you distraction-free to concentrate on the road.
Taking to the air
While a bit safer than car travel, the biggest risk when traveling via plane for the holidays becomes germs. There’s nothing like a crowded airport, moving people through by the thousands, to collect all kinds of winter germs. Stay healthy during the holidays!
- Wash hands frequently.
- Attempt to have minimal contact with public items.
- Keep your belongings close to avoid having others leave their germs on your stuff.
- Carry hand sanitizer and wet wipes with you, especially if traveling with children.
Nobody wants to spend their Thanksgiving with a runny nose and a fever, so do what you can to make your holiday as enjoyable as possible.
Protect your home while you’re away
Preparing to travel for the holidays also means protecting your home while it sits empty. Make sure your home stays protected while you’re gone. Set an alarm if you have one and refrain from posting your travel plans on social media in real time. Set a few lights inside your home on timers and lock all windows and doors.
If someone comes to your house regularly while you’re away to feed pets or bring in the mail, give them an extra key instead of hiding one on your property. If any neighbors are doing Thanksgiving at their house, ask if they can keep an eye on your home just as an extra precaution. You may also want to leave a light on at your front door and even over your garage.
Taking the proper precautions for your home while you’re away will help you have a more enjoyable Thanksgiving with one less thing to worry about.
Handling an accident over Thanksgiving
Risk of an accident still exists, even with taking all the precautions to ensure you’re a save