On the Road for Thanksgiving? Stay Accident-Free with These Safety Tips

While many people enjoy the Thanksgiving holiday close to home with loved ones, others hit the road for their feast or a fun getaway. A long weekend, the lure of Black Friday shopping, football watch parties, and other outings all combine to fill the highways and byways with millions of travelers during Thanksgiving weekend. And while the latest report hasn’t been released yet on this season’s travel, in 2022, AAA predicted that nearly 49 million people are expected to travel by car to their Thanksgiving destination.

Although everyone’s final destination is unique, there are some safety precautions you can take to ensure your road trip is a safe one. Our Dallas auto wreck lawyers here at the Law Offices of Tim O’ Hare have gathered some Thanksgiving road safety tips to help you minimize your travel stress and fully enjoy the road ahead.

Plan Your Route and Schedule Wisely With Google

If you’re planning to drive to your destination, like millions of other Americans, it pays to plan your route and schedule wisely. Google has a nifty page brought to you by Google Maps entirely devoted to Mapping Out Thanksgiving. With insight from Google Analytics, you can research the best times to get on the road and which roads to avoid altogether.

What are the Best Days and Times to Travel for Thanksgiving?

Trying to plan out your departure time to beat the rush out of town is always wise. The best time to travel for Thanksgiving is very early on Wednesday morning. Google suggests around 4 a.m. for those of you who are willing to forgo the snooze button. If you’re no early bird, the best thing to do to avoid traffic jams is to still shoot for earlier in the day, with the worst time to travel on Wednesday at 4 p.m., when traffic congestion peaks.

What about your return trip home? Once again, Google recommends hitting the road early after Thanksgiving to avoid the melee of traffic. From analytics, the best time to travel is to start your homeward journey on Friday around 4 a.m. to beat the post-holiday rush to make your way home comfortably. Avoid traveling on Sunday at 3 p.m., as this is typically when many other travelers are on the road, which can lead to delays and frustration.

Before Thanksgiving

Best Time: Wednesday 4 a.m.
Worst Time: Wednesday 4 p.m.

After Thanksgiving

Best Time: Friday 4 a.m.
Worst Time: Sunday 3 p.m.

Consider Traffic and Road Conditions

You might be aware of this, but it’s always a good idea to use a mapping app like Google Maps, Waze, or your car’s GPS in advance. These tools can help you find the most convenient routes and provide real-time traffic updates to avoid congested areas. Double-check for construction or road closures along your route and plan alternate routes to avoid delays.

Break Up Your Trip

We understand that some of you are ‘point A to point B’ travelers, meaning you prefer not to make frequent stops. But If your journey is a long one, consider scheduling regular breaks to stretch your legs and avoid fatigue. Research rest areas, gas stations, and restaurants along your route in advance to ensure you don’t waste time searching at the last minute or end up in a less-than-desirable location. 

Prepare for Delays

No matter how well you time it or how much you’ve researched your trip’s route to the nth degree, traveling on Thanksgiving means you have a high chance of encountering unexpected delays (even if you were the one who left at 4 a.m.). Allow extra travel time to account for unexpected traffic, bad weather, or other unforeseen circumstances.

Perform Vehicle Maintenance

Before hitting the road, ensure your vehicle is in good condition to prevent unexpected breakdowns and accidents. Follow these essential car maintenance tips to ensure an enjoyable and safe Thanksgiving journey:
Car Maintenance ChecklistWhat to Check
TiresCheck the tire pressure, tread depth, and overall condition. Ensure that they are properly inflated and have enough tread for safe driving.
Oil LevelsCheck the oil level and make sure it is within the recommended range. Change the oil if it has been more than 3,000 miles since your last oil change.
BrakesTest the brakes to ensure they are working correctly. If you hear any strange noises or feel any vibrations when you apply the brakes, have them inspected by a professional mechanic.
Headlights and TaillightsCheck that all your lights are working correctly, including the headlights, taillights, brake lights, and turn signals. Replace any bulbs that are burned out.

Share the Road with Trucks and Big Rigs Safely

Trucks are essential for the transportation of goods, especially during the holiday season as truck drivers meet the demand for holiday goods. As drivers, it’s important to share the road with trucks safely, ensuring the protection of all road users. By following these truck safety tips, you can minimize the risk of truck accidents and ensure a safe journey:

1. Give Trucks Ample Space

Trucks are larger and heavier than most vehicles, requiring more time and distance to come to a complete stop. When driving near a truck, it’s crucial to give them enough space to maneuver. Avoid lingering in their blind spots and maintain a safe following distance, allowing you and the truck driver to react to sudden situations.

2. Be Cautious When Overtaking or Merging

When overtaking or merging near a truck, it’s essential to exercise caution. Trucks have limited maneuverability, and sudden lane changes or turns can cause accidents. Always signal your intentions and check for clearance before passing a truck, providing enough distance before merging back in.

3. Respect Their Size and Limitations

Trucks come in different sizes and configurations, each with its unique limitations. It’s crucial to respect their size and understand their ability to stop or maneuver, especially in inclement weather or challenging driving conditions. By giving them the space and consideration they deserve, you can ensure a safer and smoother journey for all.
On the Road for Thanksgiving? Stay Accident-Free with These Safety Tips

Hit by a Car or Truck Over Thanksgiving? Contact the Law Offices of Tim O’Hare.

Despite careful planning and precaution, car accidents can still happen. If you’re involved in a car wreck during your Thanksgiving travel, and you feel you were injured due to the other driver’s negligence, you should contact an experienced car accident lawyer as soon as possible.

Don’t go through the aftermath of a car accident alone. Our specialized teams of Carrollton truck wreck lawyers or car accident lawyers are here to provide the legal support you may need and help you get your life back on track. Contact us today for a free, no-obligation consultation.

Stay safe on the road and have a happy Thanksgiving!