By Kurt Maier, Attorney and Partner
English, Lucas, Priest and Owsley, LLP
As we approach Thanksgiving, travel is on the minds of many Americans.
AAA typically releases a travel forecast for Thanksgiving, but hasn’t done so yet this year. In 2016, AAA predicted that 48.7 million people would travel for Thanksgiving, with driving being by far the most popular option for getting to that destination. This was an increase from previous years, thanks to lower gas prices and improved economic conditions.
Much of that travel is by car, with many heading out on Wednesday, November 22, this year to visit family for Thanksgiving. In the south, it seems like there is road construction year-round, and that creates a lot of stop-and-go traffic. Top that off with uncertain chilly weather that can even turn icy and you’ll find a near-perfect set up for car wrecks.
We’ve created a few tips for you for your Thanksgiving drive as you pack up and get ready to go. Keep these in mind as you hit the road.
- Keep your eyes on the road. The longer you’re on the road, the more tempting it is to play on your phone, text a friend, hunt for music or even check your Facebook feed. Don’t do it. Distracted driving is one of the top causes of accidents, so keep your eyes on the road. Listen to an audiobook or something else that flows without needing your intervention, if you need something to keep boredom at bay.
- Don’t drink and drive. It’s common to have a glass of wine or two with your holiday meal. Let someone else get you to where you need to go after that. Even driving after a single drink is a bad idea. If needed, ride services such as Uber and Lyft are fairly plentiful these days and can keep you much safer if you’ll be drinking. Better yet, designate a sober driver before you head out so you’re sure to get home safely.
- Make reasonable plans. Taking off at 10 p.m. to drive through the night is a really bad idea unless you are someone who is accustomed to being up all night. There’s no need, really, to rush. Take your time and make reasonable plans, as that will keep you safer. Fatigue is a major cause of car accidents.
- Switch drivers more often than you really think is needed. You may think you’re fine to drive for seven hours straight without a break, but there’s no need for that if there is another capable adult driver in the car. Sharing the driving duties will keep you and your eyes fresher.
- Don’t give in to road rage. It’s really easy to get angry while you’re driving, but it’s very dangerous and can get you in a lot of trouble. You don’t know if someone else may have a gun. Let that person pass, let them merge, put your anger behind you and stay safe.
It’s easy to get caught up in the rush of Thanksgiving, and want to get home as fast as possible. But remember: your goal is to get there safely.
If you are involved in an accident while you’re traveling for Thanksgiving, give us a call. I am licensed to practice in both Tennessee and Kentucky, and can give you advice on how to proceed after an accident. Let us help you. Contact me, attorney Kurt Maier, at (270) 781-6500 or firstname.lastname@example.org. I’ll be glad to talk to you.