It is estimated that about 44 million Americans will travel for Thanksgiving this year, with about 90% of that group doing their travel by car. And with so many people on the road, many of them tired, hurried or intoxicated, danger abounds.
Thanksgiving is traditionally the deadliest driving holiday by number of traffic related fatalities. Follow these Tips for Holiday Driving to help reduce the risk and make your travels safer. Buckling up, staying calm, using a designated driver, staying alert and slowing down can all help ensure that your holiday will be memorable for all the right reasons.
Besides being the law in almost every state, using your safety belt reduces your risk of serious injury or death in an accident. That goes for rear seat occupants just as much as for front seat occupants. Airbags do a lot of good, but they are supplemental restraints. They are no substitute for a properly fastened seat belt. Buckle up, and if you're driving, make sure your passengers are strapped in before heading out.
Congested roads and tight schedules can lead to frustration for drivers. Frustration can lead to poor decisions and risky behavior behind the wheel. Road rage is a tragic possibility if you don't keep your cool. Some of the things you can do to reduce your stress while driving include giving yourself plenty of time to spare, keeping your passengers occupied to reduce distractions, expecting the unexpected from other drivers, and taking the time to learn your route ahead of time.
Drinking and driving is never a good mixture. In family feast situations, even the teetotalers among us sometimes overindulge in the chardonnay. Have a plan for who is drinking and who isn't if you need to drive elsewhere after your festivities. That plan should include having the number of the local taxi cab service on hand should the designated driver forget their responsibilities and dip into the punch bowl once too often.
Although turkey generally gets the wrap for the drowsiness that typically follows a big feast, the tryptophan isn't solely to blame. In fact turkey has just as much of the sedative as other meats and cheeses. The carbohydrates and alcohol we're consuming are probably more to blame for the sleepiness most revelers experience, along with simply overindulging. A drowsy driver is a dangerous driver though, with accident rates as high as drunk drivers. So try not to overeat, don't try to do too much in one day, and pull over for a nap if you catch yourself feeling the need to nod off.
The old phrase, “Speed kills” might be an oversimplification, but the truth is that increased speeds leave less time and distance to react to problems ahead. Speed is a contributing factor in many traffic fatalities simply because speeding drivers don't have as much room for error. Obey all posted speed limits and be mindful that excess traffic might mean you need to travel well below posted limits in congested areas. Don't make the mistake of thinking you can speed around delays to make up time. Chances are you'll never save enough time to risk losing your life.
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