Thanksgiving is one of the most dangerous days of the year to drive due to the enormous number of people traveling for the holiday. Traffic fatalities tend to be higher on Thanksgiving than on any other day of the year in the U.S. This is due to both increased traffic congestion from the number of people traveling and the increased likelihood of DUI violations. Before your trip, follow these tips from our Kansas City car accident lawyers to help keep you and your loved ones safe on the road.
Stay Cautious Ahead of Thanksgiving
The night before Thanksgiving is a common party night in many areas of the country. College students and relatives returning home for the holiday may go out on the town or attend social gatherings the night before everyone has dinner with their families. DUI violations the night before Thanksgiving are very common.
One of the best ways to stay safe this Thanksgiving is to refrain from drinking and driving. If you plan to consume alcohol, plan on one of the countless ways currently available to get home safely without risking a DUI violation and a serious accident. Consider arranging for a designated driver or hire a rideshare service like Lyft or Uber to take you home instead.
Plan Your Route
If you are traveling through an unfamiliar area for the holiday, plan your trip in advance. Always have a backup route in case of an accident, road construction, or other issue. Accidents are more common when drivers are unfamiliar with the area, so pay close attention to changing traffic patterns and road conditions in new areas.
If passengers are with you, consider designating one of them to act as your navigator. He or she can safely refer to a map, cell phone map application, or a GPS device to guide you in the right direction so you can focus on driving.
Distracted driving is incredibly dangerous even during ideal traffic conditions. It’s essential to avoid distractions on Thanksgiving. More people on the roads mean more opportunities for accidents. Texting behind the wheel, adjusting a car stereo, conversations with passengers, and any other activity that draws a driver’s attention away from driving is dangerous.
Account for Bad Weather
Some areas of the country may see winter driving conditions by the time Thanksgiving arrives. If you’re planning to drive through an area with ice and snow, use extra caution behind the wheel.
Pay close attention to local alerts, state of emergency declarations, and other advisory notices that may impact your driving. In some areas, a driver may receive a ticket for driving too fast for conditions. If the weather is bad, it may not be wise to drive at the posted speed limit. Drivers must exercise good judgment during bad weather or in low visibility conditions. For example, if a driver is on a road with a 55 mph speed limit during a very bad storm, it may be wise to slow to 40 or 45 mph for the current conditions.
Defensive driving can help prevent a lot of accidents this holiday season. Driving defensively simply means using caution at all times and appropriately disengaging from potentially dangerous situations. For example, one driver cuts off another, and the second driver may become frustrated and attempt to unsafely overtake the first driver in response. This is aggressive driving and can easily lead to legal penalties and serious accidents.
Drivers have a duty of care to all others on the road. It is the drivers duty to follow posted traffic signals and operate their vehicles safely for current conditions. When drivers rush, drive aggressively, drive distracted, or drive under the influence of alcohol they significantly increase the risk of an accident. Avoiding these actions and taking proper precautions can help you stay safer on the road this Thanksgiving.