We always see an increase in traffic around the holidays, but Thanksgiving remains one of the deadliest days for drivers. The bad news is that AAA predicts the 2015 Thanksgiving holiday season will see an increase in the number of cars on the road from last year. In fact, AAA believes there will be a 0.6% increase, adding some 300,000 cars on the road.
An estimated 46.9 million Americans will travel over 50 miles on this upcoming holiday weekend, which is being defined as November 25th through November 29th.
Here’s the good news: unemployment is shrinking, gas prices are the lowest they’ve been on Thanksgiving weekend since 2008, and many Americans are seeing an increase in their disposable income. However, this will likely create the most holiday travelers since 2007.
Some facts to keep in mind
- Airfare has fallen in price
- Hotel rentals have increased in price
- Car rentals have increased in price
- AAA predicts it will need to help 360,000 motorists over this upcoming holiday weekend
- There are around 450 traffic fatalities each Thanksgiving Holiday
How to stay safe this Thanksgiving Weekend
Follow basic driving safety precautions
While these things are always important, they become even more so over a holiday often credited to being the deadliest for drivers. Remember to:
- Wear your seatbelt
- Drive the speed limit
- Look both ways
- Use your turn signal
- Keep both hands on the wheel
Aggressive driving tends to stem from foiled time expectations. Instead of worrying about making it on time, understand and remember that you will likely run into traffic while traveling over the holidays. Instead of getting frustrated when running into a traffic jam, be prepared for one. Give yourself a good cushion of time and leave early. This will help you make it on time despite delays as well as minimizing road rage. Remember that aggressive driving is responsible for 1/3 of all fatal car crashes.
Make sure your car is in optimal working condition
If you’re planning a long or short road trip over this Thanksgiving Weekend, then make sure your car is in good working order. At the very least, make sure your tires have the proper amount of air pressure and that your car’s battery is not low.
Have a designated driver
Drunk drivers are always a threat, but holiday weekends tend to bring more than the usual amount out onto the roadways. The best way to prevent drinking and driving is by not drinking, but the second best way is to have a designated driver. If you plan to go to a party, make sure you plan how you will get home safely as well.
Always a good idea, driving defensively can help you make it to and from your holiday destination. Remember that aggressive driving is not personal, even if it may seem so at times. Remember that everyone has the right to drive on the road and that preventing someone from getting over, speeding, or cutting someone off is not worth risk.
Focus on the road
Nine Americans die every day on average in distracted driving related incidents. This number is likely to spike when driving over the Thanksgiving holiday weekend. That’s why it’s important to stay focus on the road at all times. Do not search for loose items, text, program your GPS, or daydream while driving. Help keep the roads safe by staying focused with both hands on the wheel while driving.
While some of this information may seem obvious, it doesn’t change the fact many people who read this or similar information will ignore it despite the fact it could save a life. Holidays are a great time to see family and friends, but they also increase the dangers of driving. So, over this 2015 Thanksgiving holiday remember to drive wisely and come home safe