At the start of every holiday season, safety advocacy groups remind everyone that Thanksgiving weekend is one of the most dangerous times of the year to drive. This year is no exception; record numbers of travelers are expected. Factors such as unfamiliar roads and poor weather conditions all contribute to the amount of accidents this time of year. Nothing ruins a Thanksgiving dinner like a serious car crash, and most can be avoided by careful preparation and defensive driving. The following are some suggestions to help families arrive safely to their destination, whether they be near or far.
AAA cautions drivers to have their vehicles checked before embarking on any holiday trips. Even if it is not time for an oil change, having the fluids and tire pressure checked is a smart idea. Having an emergency kit in the trunk with jumper cables, extra oil, spare keys, a flashlight, and blankets can be a lifesaver. Other items to have handy include spare chargers and roadside assistance contact information.
Other ways to plan for safety include mapping out the route ahead of time. Drivers that listen to weather and traffic reports are a step ahead of the game, since this allows them to plan for alternate routes. Leaving before or after busy travel times can also help; AAA reports that Thanksgiving day will have less traffic compared to the weekend.
Holiday travel brings more large trucks on the roads, and the American Trucking Association has helpful safety tips for everyone. It is best to stay away from trucks when possible, since they are much heavier and take longer to stop than passenger vehicles. Tailgating is never a good idea, nor is cutting in front of others. Trucks also have large blind spots, so a trucker may not be able to see a car in its rear view mirror. If a motorist cannot see the truck driver in the truck’s mirrors, then the trucker driver cannot see the motorist.
With more congestion on the roads, it is important to avoid distractions. Avoiding cell phone use, except for emergencies, is vital. Drivers should keep their eyes on the road. Other recommendations include maintaining posted speed limits, passing with care, and taking breaks if fatigue sets in.
If weather conditions deteriorate during a trip, you may need to stop somewhere to wait it out. When snow and ice start falling, drivers may need to pull over somewhere safe and clean it off; otherwise it can blow onto other vehicles. Slowing down in residential areas is essential, since pedestrians, cyclists, and cars backing out of driveways can pose potential hazards. It is also extremely important to wear your seat belt whenever you are in a moving vehicle. Seat belts cut back the risk of fatal injuries by 45 percent.
If you were injured in a car accident, contact a knowledgeable Pittsburgh car accident lawyer at AlpernSchubert P.C. today. We will fight to obtain the compensation you rightfully deserve. For a free consultation, complete our online form or call us at 412-765-1888. Located in Pittsburgh, we serve clients throughout western Pennsylvania, including Allegheny County, Lawrence County, and Washington County.