The week of Thanksgiving is one of the biggest travel weeks of the year. It’s the kickoff to the holiday season, and people use this time to visit friends and family all over the country.
Unfortunately, the boost in traffic also means a sharp increase in car and truck accidents. After all, semi-truck drivers have to continue delivering their freight regardless of how many extra cars on are the road. For them, driving is a full-time job. If you plan to travel this Turkey Day, here are several things you can do to make sure you reach your destination safely, according to the American Red Cross.
- Wear your seat belt. It’s true: Seat belts save lives. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) points out that wearing your seat belt is the single most important thing you can do to lower your risk of being killed in a car or truck accident.
- Don’t drive drowsy. The CDC estimates that up to 6,000 fatal vehicle accidents each year are caused by drowsy drivers. Of course, turkey and the consumption of large meals are associated with sleepiness. If you plan on tucking into a large dinner at Thanksgiving, consider tucking into bed before you hop in the car.
- Be cautious in work zones. Road work is inevitable if you plan on driving on the highway for a long road trip. If you encounter road construction, slow down and take your time.
- Don’t speed. Speed limits are there for a reason. Excessive speed is the leading cause of traffic accidents. Staying safe is more important than shaving a few minutes off of your drive.
- Don’t tailgate. Keep plenty of distance between your car and the vehicles in front of you—especially semi-trucks. Semis must often stop without much warning, which can make you crash into the trailer. Because these trailers are so much taller than the average vehicle, rear-end semi-truck collisions are usually catastrophic.
- Pack an emergency kit. It’s a good idea to keep an emergency kit in your vehicle, especially if you plan to drive in snowy or icy weather. In bad storms, emergency workers are frequently overwhelmed with calls, and they may not be able to reach you right away. Having some supplies handy can help you stay safe and comfortable while you wait. Your kit should include bottled water, nonperishable food, batteries, a flashlight, flares, a blanket, and any spare medication you may need.
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