The long weekend that begins with Thanksgiving is one of the busiest travel times of the year. According to the AAA auto club, the number of Americans traveling for the holiday will increase more than 11 percent over last year. It is estimated that 42.2 million will travel at least 50 miles to spend the day with their loved ones. Most of that travel – 94 percent, or 39.7 million people – will travel by car. With so many people on the road, most of them trying to keep up with a hectic schedule and dealing with the possibility of bad weather, this can spell a recipe for disaster. But if you take the time to make safety a priority, you can make it a great holiday.
Here are a few tips for staying safe if you are traveling for the holiday:
- Prepare your vehicle: Check wipers and fluids. Have your radiator and cooling system serviced. Make a list and follow through on any other maintenance your car may need to prevent a breakdown on the road.
- Know the risks beforehand: Listen to the weather and traffic reports to know what you are up against, and what you can avoid. Drive only if you can stay safe given the conditions.
- Plan your trip: Know your exits by name and number, and watch the signs as you come close to off-ramps. Many car accidents happen during unexpected lane changes. And use maps or a GPS device so you know what to expect.
- Be mindful of your gas level. Keep your gas tank half full. Condensation can build up in a near-empty gas tank when temperatures are extremely cold, which could potentially freeze your fuel line and leave you stranded.
- Create an emergency kit. You should have a first-aid kit, jumper cables, a battery-powered radio, flashlights, blankets, a fire extinguisher, bottled water, non-perishable food, a tire repair kit, a jack, and flares.
- Share your itinerary with loved ones. They should know when to expect you, and your planned route of travel in case of emergency.
- Buckle up. It’s not only the law to wear your seat belt – it is essential to your safety. Even a fender bender can be deadly without a seat belt – seat belts can reduce the rate of fatal injury by 45 percent.
- Know your limits. Do not drive while fatigued, upset, ill, or impaired. It will not be a happy holiday if you don’t arrive safely.
If you have been injured in a car accident, the Columbia car accident lawyers at Chappell Smith & Arden, P.A. will fight for you. You may schedule a free consultation by calling 803-929-3600 or 866-881-8623 or contact us online. With offices located throughout South Carolina, we serve clients in Lexington County, Richland County, Sumter County, Aiken County, Florence County, Lancaster County, York County, Orangeburg County, Kershaw County, and Newberry County, including those in the towns of Columbia, Lexington, Irmo, Chapin, Rock Hill, Aiken, Sumter, Newberry, Florence, and Spartanburg.