Thanksgiving in Maryland and the rest of the United States is traditionally the heaviest travel period of the year. Not only do airports get crowded, but the roadways get pretty busy too as people hit the road to visit family and friends. If you plan on driving to reach your destination for Thanksgiving dinner this year, there are several precautions you can take as a driver to avoid a car accident. Here are seven tips to help ensure that you, your passengers, and other drivers enjoy a safe and happy Thanksgiving.
1. Make sure you’re well-rested. Driving while fatigued is extremely dangerous. While you might not fall asleep at the wheel, your mind may not be fully alert. If you plan to travel during late hours to avoid heavy traffic and begin to feel sleepy, rotate drivers or pull over into a safe area to take a brief nap before driving again.
2. Light the way. Depending on what time of day you hit the road, it’s important to use your headlights as soon as it begins to get dark, or otherwise instructed by any road signs. Before leaving, clean your headlights, taillights, signal lights and windows to help you see. Turn your headlights on as dusk approaches, or if you are using your windshield wipers due to inclement weather.
3. Eliminate behind-the-wheel distractions. Distracted driving is a year-round hazard, but it is especially important to remember around the holidays when there is more traffic on the road than usual. Refrain from distracting activities like eating or using your smart phone.
4. Avoid the hours with the most traffic congestion. Driving during busy hours may not seem dangerous due to the slower movement of vehicles; however, many patients grow impatient and weave in and out traffic in hopes of reaching their destinations faster. These reckless drivers pose serious dangers to all drivers sharing the road.
5. Seatbelts. Oftentimes, passengers grow restless during long car rides. In many cases, restless passengers will move their seatbelt to improper positions. However, in the course of a car accident, a person who is wearing their seatbelt inappropriately can face severe injuries. During your Thanksgiving car ride, ensure all passengers are wearing their seatbelt properly for the entire duration of the drive.
6. Stay Sober. Alcohol-related accidents skyrocket around the holidays. If your holiday plans involve any festive drinks, make sure you don’t drive and designate a sober driver to get you home.
7. Avoid pressured driving. Many people place pressure on themselves to reach their destination as soon as possible, and with so much traffic on the roads, it can be difficult not to give in to frustration and impatience. However, it is not worth compromising your safety, your family’s safety, or the safety of others on the road by driving aggressively or speeding.
Lastly, be aware of troopers and emergency personnel on the roads who are assisting those in need. The last thing you want is for your holiday to be ruined by a car accident, so remember to play it safe and realize that it is better to arrive at your destination late than not at all. The Potter Burnett Law team wish you and yours a happy and safe Thanksgiving holiday. Please drive safely.