How to Avoid an Accident -
Thanksgiving is almost upon us and it's one of the most dangerous times on the road.
An estimated 41,000,000 U.S. residents are expected to be driving at least 50 miles on or around Thanksgiving day and all those people mean more potential for deadly accidents. In fact, Thanksgiving Day is the #1 most dangerous day to be on the road all year long...more so than July 4th, New Year's or any given Saturday. Last year over 500 people were killed on the roads on Thanksgiving day - that's a 500% increase over a typical day.
In many cases, driving on or around Thanksgiving can't be avoided. And that's okay! Being a vigilant, defensive driver is the best thing you can do to protect yourself and your family on the road, Thanksgiving or not. If you've got to travel this coming week be sure to heed these safe-driving tips from your friends at North Metro Traffic School:
- If possible, avoid the heaviest volume times on the road. Google Maps just put out a great tip sheet using data from past searches (click here) and they say the Wednesday before Thanksgiving and the Saturday after are the busiest times on the road. If you've got to drive, leave early or late to avoid the bulk of traffic.
- Learn your directions by heart. There are going to be tons of people on the road looking at their smartphones for map guidance and you don't want to be one of them. Distracted driving is a leading cause of accidents and knowing which exit you're looking for and whether you're turning right or left before you're weaving in and out of traffic could save your life.
- Leave early and prepare to be more patient than you've been all year. It's going to take longer than you think to get where you're going! The less of a hurry you feel when driving, the more concentrated you'll be on safety. Of course, police will be on en masse so be sure to obey the posted speed limit to avoid ruining your meal with a big fat ticket.
- Avoid areas heavily populated with Black Friday shoppers. There are dozens of retail chains planning to open their doors to Black Friday shoppers on Thanksgiving Day - you need to account for this volume. These drivers are likely to be hurrying, aggressive, and less courteous than usual so if your usual route takes you by a mall or an outlet on Thanksgiving, find an alternative.
- Beware drunk drivers. It may seem counterintuitive but family holidays make rise to some of the highest DUI crash statistics every year. It's a combination of all-day drinking, people who don't usually partake, and "weak" drinks like wine and beer that lead far too many folks to think they're fine to drive. If you're on the road on Thanksgiving Day try to avoid traveling in the late afternoon or evening to decrease your risk of a DUI-related accident.
- Keep a close eye on the weather conditions where you are and where you're going. The weather's been nutty all over the U.S. this week and it's showing little sign of stopping, particularly in the Northeast. Though snow and ice may help decrease some of the volume on the roads this holiday season it's not going to make it any easier to drive safely. Use an abundance of caution particularly if you're not used to driving in adverse weather conditions.
Thanksgiving is one of the best days of the year. It's full of food, family, and fun but it also comes with its fair share of perils. Mentally steeling yourself for a trying roadway experience before you get in the car is the first step to making it to your destination safely. Drive smart, drive slow, and above all else, drive defensively in Georgia this Thanksgiving season.