With many people traveling to visit families on Thanksgiving it is projected that over 50 million people will be on the roads during this holiday. As a result the amount of car accidents over thanksgiving increases exponentially. In fact we recently did a study on just how much the amount of fatal accidents increases over this period. Driving on Thanksgiving can be a recipe for disaster, with the colder weather causing dangerous road conditions and increased volume of cars on the road. Accident lawyers at Rosenthal Law report an influx of car accidents, especially collisions with animals, during the Thanksgiving holiday period. We at Safer America are committed to the safety of our fellow U.S. residents, so we have compiled a list of tips to help keep drivers safe. 

Plan Your 2020 Thanksgiving Trip 

While the amount of drivers on the road and the weather might not be something you can control, you can plan your trip around these factors to help keep you safe. Because of weather and traffic the time you leave will be a very important factor for you safety. 

  1. Traffic: The higher the volume of drivers on the road the higher the likelihood of an accident. As well as the more drivers the more traffic and the longer your trip will take. It is commonly projected across the country that the worst times for travel are around 5:00 PM to 7:00PM the day before Thanksgiving, which would be Wednesday the 25th. The projected traffic will vary by city and state though so it is best to do a little research on what date and time will be best for your individual trip. 
  2. Weather: Another very important factor around planning your trip is what the weather will be like. The colder temperatures can bring high winds, snow, and icy road conditions. Conditions may be clear when you leave, but can turn sour quickly and you want to have your car properly equipped with chains if you might need them. Checking the weather can help you get a good idea of when the safest time to travel might be.

For reference here is the safest projected time for travel in major localities from 2019:

most dangerous times to drive during Thanksgiving in major cities in the U.S.

Steps You Can Take to Prevent Driver Error On Your Thanksgiving Drive

While the time you leave will be a big factor in keeping safe during your Thanksgiving drive, there are also a number of steps you can take to keep yourself safe during your trip. 

  1. Perform a Maintenance Check: With roads extra busy it is imperative to make sure everything with your car is in working order. A flat tire on an empty road is a lot less of a problem than on a busy one. Here’s a short list of checks you should do before your trip: 
    • Check tire pressure and tread depth
    • Check and/or replace wiper blades
    • Fill windshield washer fluid reservoir
    • Test your car battery
  2. Pack Winter Related Items: The cold really starts to hit around this time of year and many people might forget to bring important winter driving items.  Traction pads for getting out of snow are a must for this time of year. Also it’s important to have extra warm clothes in the car in case of a breakdown. Roadside assistance services might be extra busy and if you don’t have heat while your waiting you might be in danger. 
  3. Get Plenty of Rest Before Your Trip: On days where the roads are extra busy it is important to have your reflexes on point. Driving while tired effects our reflexes the same way alcohol does, and this definitely doesn’t mix well with crowded roads on a long distance trip.