Thanksgiving is one the most recognized and beloved holidays. Every year, family and friends gather to celebrate. This year, Thanksgiving festivities will be different. With families travelling long distances, there are many things to prepare for during Thanksgiving week. The increased traffic increases the likelihood of car wrecks, so it is important that drivers practice defensive driving at all times. Additionally, the ongoing Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic has forced all Americans to drastically change their plans to celebrate the holiday.
Is it Safe to Celebrate Thanksgiving This Year?
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, families should practice extra safety precautions during Thanksgiving week. More than likely, many families will have to adjust their plans to accommodate each other and their safety. Many national health organizations, including the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), recommend if a family member must travel this year, then they should drive. Driving a personal vehicle is deemed much safer than flying this year. Travelling is dangerous during Thanksgiving week, especially with the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
Make Sure the Vehicle is Ready for Thanksgiving Travel
Since many health organizations recommend driving as the preferred form of travel for the holiday season, it is imperative that the vehicle being used is checked thoroughly before departing. A driver should check the following before starting their journey:
- Fluids: Fluids, like washer fluid and brake fluid, should be checked and topped off if it is necessary. If the vehicle is due for maintenance, it is best to have oil and transmission fluid changed.
- Tires and Brakes: Tires and brakes and other important safety components of the vehicle and should be checked and replaced.
- Battery: Make sure that the battery is checked and replaced if it is necessary. Batteries usually last three to five years. Also, the battery drains faster in colder weather.
Avoid Distractions While Driving
Family road trips can have plenty of distractions, so limiting any distractions helps the driver maintain focus. Children in the car should be occupied with tablets or other forms of entertainment. The front passenger should handle the driver’s phone as well as provide navigation. All of these actions will help prevent a distracted driving accident.
Drivers Should Plan Ahead of Time
Planning ahead is essential for safe travelling. Planning includes packing ahead of time. An overpacked vehicle could render it difficult to handle, especially if the load weighs more than the factory’s specifications. Objects or luggage rolling around can cause a distraction for the driver or even disturb the driver’s ability to maneuver.
Since it is expected that Thanksgiving travelers will be driving more than flying this year, it is important to be prepared, even if the plan is to leave early. Most families believe that leaving the Sunday before Thanksgiving will be easier for travel, but that is not always the case, particularly this year.
Check the Weather Before Driving
Car crash rates increase in inclement weather. Keep in mind that lower temperatures reduce friction on the roads, and newly wet roads are a lot more hazardous. Wet leaves are also hazardous. Leaves are just as slippery as black ice and can cause serious collisions.
What are the Safety Guidelines This Year?
As each day passes, scientists, doctors, and researchers are learning more and more about COVID-19 and how to prevent it. Health organizations, like the CDC, have released some specific holiday guidelines so that families can celebrate safely if they must travel. These guidelines include:
Limit Gatherings: This could be difficult to accomplish for some families, but it is extremely important. One infected individual has the potential to spread the virus to dozens of others, depending on the environment. Try to limit the number of individuals in one’s home if it is possible.
Travel by Car: Travelling by car is safer than by airplane or public transportation this year. Both air, bus, and train travel can expose a large group of people to unsafe conditions.
Outdoor Dining: It is important to hold an event outdoors if it is possible, including Thanksgiving dinner. If it must be held indoors, ensure that good ventilation is provided, like opening doors and windows. This will help limit the spread of the virus by keeping the air moving.
Cleanliness: Make sure that all guests practice the proper safety measures. If any guest has been exposed previously, it is also best that they quarantine for two weeks or get a COVID-19 test. Safety guidelines include social distancing at least six feet from others, proper mask wearing, handwashing, and other preventative measures.
Never Drink and Drive
The holiday season is notorious for people consuming alcohol, so it is important to remind every guest to get a designated driver or hire a rideshare service for transportation. Since many people will be traveling for the holiday, it is crucial that everyone practices safe driving.
Should I Hire a Lawyer After a Collision?
It is important that everyone practices safety measures this year. If one decides to travel, they should practice defensive driving. Even while practicing safe driving, an accident can still happen. If a person is injured in a car accident during Thanksgiving travel, they should speak to a lawyer about their options.
Huntsville Car Accident Lawyers at Hodges Trial Lawyers, P.C. Protect Injured Clients Against Dangerous Drivers
If you have severe injuries because of a car accident, one of our experienced Huntsville car accident lawyers at Hodges Trial Lawyers, P.C. will fight to get you compensation. We understand that car accidents are devastating, and we will help you recover. Call us at 256-539-3110 or complete our online form for a free consultation. Located in Huntsville and Athens, Alabama, we serve clients throughout North Alabama, Madison County, Limestone County, Marshall County, Jackson County, Morgan County, and Lauderdale County.