This Thanksgiving more than 54 million people will travel over 50 miles. According to AAA that is the most since 2005. AAA attributes this to the great state of the economy, people have more disposable income and personal wealth to afford the costs associated with traveling. Also, the fact that gasoline prices in Louisiana and around New Orleans are averaging around $2.30, which is slightly higher than in 2017 but still very cost-effective for long road trips and traveling. So it's possible you or your family will be doing some traveling this week, here are a few tips to keep in mind to have safe travels and avoid car or truck accidents on the road.
1. Before You Begin: Vehicle Maintenance
Especially with possible cold weather throughout the U.S. you should do some preventative maintenance on your vehicle. That includes checking tires: how long has it been since you changed them and what does the tread look like? Balding tires on slick roads are a huge accident hazard. Depending on the type of vehicle you have your front or rear tires may wear out faster than the other. If you need to change them, you may not need to change all four thus reducing your expense. There's also changing the oil, it's good to have fresh oil in your vehicle if you are traveling long distances. Most cars nowadays can go longer and longer without oil changes but you should still be mindful of when to change it, especially before long trips or major traveling. Your battery can also be an issue and be affected by cold weather. It may also be good to get your battery tested depending on its age. Cold whether can hinder your vehicle starting, leaving you stranded or requiring jumps.
2. Packing & Overloading Your Vehicle
Packing too much is not something we generally think about nowadays, but it's important to not overload your vehicle. Truck weight and car weight are important when you're talking about maneuverability and performance. An overloaded vehicle with luggage and passengers makes your automobile less stable, difficult to steer and slower to react to changes in the driving environment. It also can cost you: overloaded vehicles use more gas and in most states an overloaded vehicle is against the law. If you get into a car accident your insurance coverage could be voided or your insurance company can attempt to not cover any damage or deny your insurance claim.
3. Be Mindful of How You're Driving
This basically means following the rules of the road, being courteous to other drivers and mindful of your surroundings and driving environment. Cruise in the right lane and pass in the left lane. It's very important to keep pace with traffic and if you are in the left lane and there are cars behind you looking to pass, move over. Vehicles that don't pay attention to their surroundings and other drivers can be some of the biggest causes of accidents and traffic issues. If traffic is able to flow without impediment that is good for everyone. You should also be aware of your driving environment and surroundings. Long trips can mean driving at night where visibility is reduced, impacting a drivers ability to react. Fog and rain can also impair driving and are leading causes of car accidents. Staying in the right lane and keeping the flow and speed of traffic is paramount to avoiding accidents and crashes, especially in large cities like New Orleans.
4. Try to Avoid Driving Distracted
Driving distracted is already a major cause of accidents in our modern age, with the rise of cell phones being a big contributor to this epidemic. During heavy travel seasons such as Thanksgiving, traffic is doubled and tripled making it even more important to focus on the road and your driving, looking out for other drivers and what they do and the road ahead. Other components of distracted driving can be unruly passengers, pets in the front seat or extremely loud music dulling your reaction time.
5. Leave For Your Destination Early, If Possible
For Thanksgiving travel, try to leave as early as possible. The most congestive times are early morning on Thanksgiving to mid-afternoon. Wednesday afternoon is the worst time to drive, according to major travel outlets like Google. The earlier the better!
It's Still A Dangerous Time For Car Accidents
Even following every safe guideline and tip can't stop other drivers from being negligent. Sadly, Thanksgiving is still one of the most dangerous times to drive.
We hope you have a safe and happy Thanksgiving!