With an estimated 54.6 million people traveling to celebrate the Thanksgiving holiday this year, it’s important for passenger and commercial drivers alike to remind themselves of the best practices to be safe on the road.
"Given the high volume of travelers for Thanksgiving, it is important to implement safe driving measures so everyone can make it to the dinner table," said truck driver Gina Jones of Werner Enterprises. "As a professional truck driver, I am delivering all the trimmings necessary for Thanksgiving. I hope my fellow motorists will consider these safe driving tips when traveling to their Thanksgiving destinations."
Thanksgiving offers several other driving challenges beyond traffic congestion. Winter weather conditions present unique problems for motorists, including high winds and blowing snow, which contribute to reduced visibility in many regions throughout the country. Similarly, freezing temperatures can have a profound impact on vehicles and roadways. A thorough pre-trip inspection and understanding of driving conditions can play a significant role in driving success this holiday season.
"As a truck driver from Maine, I have been trained to deal with wintery road conditions," said truck driver Ron Round of Pottle's Transportation. "It is important to make sure your vehicle is prepared for extended trips. Check your wiper fluids, antifreeze, and pack a few extra blankets before you start your travel in case of an emergency."
The American Trucking Associations’ Share the Road highway safety program offers these reminders to motorists this Thanksgiving season.
- Buckle up: Safety belts save lives. Day or night, and even if you are riding in the back seat—wear your safety belt.
- Remove ice and snow from your vehicle: Clear your windows and roof of snow to ensure you have maximum visibility and avoid creating a hazard for the vehicle behind you. Don't allow ice and snow to create additional blind spots on your vehicle.
- Slow down: The chance of a crash nearly triples when driving faster than surrounding traffic. Icy conditions can make the roads slippery, so slow down to avoid losing control of your vehicle.
- Don't drive impaired: There is much to celebrate this time of year during the holiday season. With that said, driving is a great responsibility, and your fellow travelers are relying on safe and attentive drivers to respectfully share the road and make good decisions.
- Be aware of truck blind spots: When sharing the road with large trucks, be aware of their blind spots. If you cannot see the professional truck driver in his or her mirrors, then the professional truck driver cannot see you.
- Keep your eyes on the road: Distracted driving is a major cause of traffic accidents, especially among young drivers. Even just two seconds of distraction time doubles the chances of an accident. Never text while driving.
- Do not cut in front of large trucks: Remember trucks are heavier and take longer to make a complete stop, so avoid cutting quickly in front of them.
- Prepare your vehicle for long distance travel: Check your wipers and fluids. Have your radiator and cooling system serviced. Simple maintenance before you leave your home can prevent many of the problems that might strand motorists on the side of the road.
- Leave early and avoid risks: Leave early so you will not be anxious about arriving late. Road conditions may change due to inclement weather or traffic congestion.
- Be aware of the vehicle in front of you: Leave extra room between you and the vehicle ahead.
- Understand congestion patterns: High traffic volumes lead to greater opportunities for accidents, so plan your trip to avoid traffic bottlenecks and increased traffic volumes.