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Got Thanksgiving Travel Plans? Stay Safe with These Tips.

Posted in Car Accident on November 20, 2018

The 2018 holiday travel season is upon us, and millions of Americans will hit the nation’s highways and interstates in the coming days on their way to visit friends and family. Experts predict that around 54.3 million Americans will travel 50 miles or more over the holiday—nearly a five-percent increase compared to 2017.

Of those travelers, 48.5 million will get to their destinations on land, and there will be 2.5 million additional travelers compared to last year. That means that traffic volumes will be heavy throughout the holiday travel period, which is defined as Wednesday, November 21 through Sunday, November. However, some experts believe that heavier than normal traffic could begin even earlier as families take extended time away from school and work to visit loved ones.

If you’re planning on traveling a long or even a short distance in your vehicle this Thanksgiving, it’s important that you’re prepared for everything that Tennessee’s roadways can throw at you. And if you happen to be involved in an accident, the Nashville auto accident attorneys at Matt Hardin Law are here to help. We know what it takes to win settlements for innocent victims like you, and we have the experience and track record of success to prove it. Call us today at (615) 200-1111 or complete a free online form to get in touch with us.

9 Ways to Have a Safe and Smooth Thanksgiving Journey

Thanksgiving is all about visiting with family and friends—not being involved in an auto accident or experiencing car troubles. Here are 7 ways you can make journey to visit loved ones safe, easy, and as routine as possible:

  1. Prepare your vehicle before you leave—Experiencing vehicle problems, including a flat tire, dead battery, or something more serious is never pleasant, but it can be downright disastrous when you’re hundreds of miles from home. Take care of routine maintenance tasks such as oil changes, inflating tires, and maintenance inspections before you leave home. In addition to helping prevent an untimely phone call to a tow truck company, it can also help you avoid an accident.
  2. Give yourself plenty of time to reach your destination—Traveling during the holidays means busy roads and plenty of traffic. Depending on traffic volume, weather conditions, and accidents, you may experience several delays. Drivers who are running late are more likely to speed or take risks, so take it easy and leave early. Having plenty of time to reach your destination means you’ll be able to accommodate unexpected delays during your journey.
  3. Plan your route and program your GPS ahead of time—Whether you’re driving somewhere new or taking a route you know like the back of your hand, it still pays to do a little research before you leave home. Check news and state travel information websites to find out whether you’ll encounter road closures or detours during your trip. Planning your route on your GPS or smartphone before you leave can also help you avoid potential hazards and major backups, reducing frustration and helping you arrive on time.
  4. Bring along a phone charger, snacks, and water—Cell phones are a primary source of distraction for drivers, and that’s why you should make phone calls or send and receive text messages before and after your trip. But having one available in case of an emergency can save your trip or even your life. It’s also important to pack snacks and waters for the drive and just in case you become stranded in your vehicle due to inclement weather.
  5. Secure pets, luggage, and other items—If you’re bringing your pets to your Thanksgiving destination, be sure to secure them safely and properly. That means putting them in size-appropriate enclosures for the duration of the trip. Luggage should also be placed in your vehicle’s trunk or cargo area and secured with cargo nets if they’re available. Finally, make sure any food dishes you bring are held or properly secured. In addition to making a mess, a toppled tray of Thanksgiving food can be distracting and put you at risk of an accident.
  6. Stop frequently for fuel, bathroom breaks, and to switch drivers—Traveling long distances for the holidays is a marathon—not a sprint. That means it pays to pace yourself and to make your loved ones as comfortable as possible. Stop to fuel up long before it becomes an urgent issue, and give everyone frequent bathroom breaks. If you feel drowsy or fatigued, consider switching drivers while you nap or rest in the passenger seat.
  7. Check weather forecasts for the areas you’ll be driving through—Temperatures have been cold in Middle Tennessee, and they’re even colder the further north you go. Be sure to check weather forecasts for the days you’ll be traveling. Ice can form rapidly when temperatures are at or below freezing, making roads extremely dangerous. If temperatures are expected to dip below 32 degrees Fahrenheit, be cautious during your drive. Check your vehicle’s outdoor temperature gauge if it’s equipped with one and be prepared to pull over to a safe location or even book a hotel for the night if the highway or interstate becomes icy.
  8. Use caution while driving through work zones—Although work is often suspended in road construction zones before, during, and after holiday weekend travel, some may still have workers present. In addition, lane shifts and narrow lanes may still be present due to construction work. That means you should be just as cautious while driving through those areas as when they’re active work zones. Pay attention to signs, including those indicating the speed limit, lane shifts, or lane mergers.
  9. Drive on off-peak days if possible—Heavy traffic doesn’t just mean frustration, stress, and potential delays. It can also mean an increased risk of accidents. If your schedule is flexible, consider driving on alternate days. Although traffic volumes are usually heavier the entire week before and after Thanksgiving Day, they reach their peak the day before and the day after the holiday. If you can schedule your drive to occur on alternate days, you can avoid a significant amount of traffic, making your journey a little easier and a lot less risky.

The Nashville auto accident attorneys at Matt Hardin Law wish everyone a safe and happy Thanksgiving holiday.