Last week, I got a text from my mother asking about my Thanksgiving plans. I hadn’t even given it a moment’s thought. I looked at the calendar and wondered aloud, “Where did September and October go?”
Sure enough, it’s that time of year: the six-week stretch of holidays. And with the holidays comes plenty of travel. In my family alone, Thanksgiving requires travel from five different cities in three different states to get to my parents’ home, where we will be celebrating the day. The American Automobile Association estimates nearly 50 million Americans will travel more than 50 miles on the road, in the skies, or on the rails to get to turkey and stuffing. About 90% of these travelers are expected to be in a car, meaning plenty of extra traffic on our streets and highways.
With the vast majority of us hitting the road this Thanksgiving, here are some tips to remember to keep your holiday travel safer for you and your family.
You (or the driver): Get a good night’s sleep. Buckle up and follow all speed limits. Be patient and courteous, and keep an eye out for drunk or erratic drivers. Designate one person in the car to answer your phone, respond to texts, and give driving instructions.
Children: Make sure your children are in the right safety seats and that the seats are installed correctly (see www.safercar.gov for all the info you need, including where to find a professional child passenger safety technician). Check the child passenger safety laws in the states you are traveling—the laws may be different than your home state. Pack plenty of kid-safe, car-friendly games, drinks, and non-perishable snacks for the car.
Teen drivers: Check teen driving laws in the states where you will be traveling. Consider not letting your teen drive at all—increased traffic and potential bad weather can cause major problems for inexperienced drivers.
Your car: Get your vehicle tuned up by a qualified mechanic. Check your emergency kit (or buy one). Pack your car so that packages, luggage, and extra stuff doesn’t fly around if the car suddenly stops.
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