The Thanksgiving holiday is a time for family, friends, and travel.
Whether you’re flying to your parents’ house or driving across the country, you must be prepared for potential travel hazards so you can arrive safely.
In this “On The Road” article, we will discuss some safety tips for staying safe while traveling during the Thanksgiving holiday.
Travel Safety Thanksgiving – What to Know
1. Take care of car maintenance
Before going on a road trip, do a maintenance check of your car to avoid any unwanted surprises.
- Check the oil level in your car
- Always top off and check the tire pressure in your tires
- Check your brakes and battery conditions
Small things like the air pressure in your tire and even getting your battery tested is a smart moves before ever hitting the road. It’s also a good idea to bring along a spare tire and jumper cables, just in case of an emergency. Include a first aid kit (emergency kit) and a map of your route in case you need to take an alternate route.
2. Be smart on the roads
Watch out for aggressive drivers, maintain the speed limit, and stay alert when driving!
Sure, these all might seem like standard tips for driving, but it is especially important because the Thanksgiving holiday is the BUSIEST time to travel!
Be mentally prepared if you are behind the wheel for an extended period by getting enough rest the night before and taking frequent breaks. Expect bumper-to-bumper traffic around Thanksgiving, and give yourself extra time to reach your destination.
Frequent stops for long road trips can help avoid drowsy driving. The holiday season is full of distractions, so make sure to focus on the task at hand — safe driving. Rotate drivers if possible, and never drive while under alcohol or drugs.
3. Arrive at airports early
If you’re flying, be sure to arrive at the airport early to allow plenty of time for security checkpoints
Ensure you have your boarding pass and ID ready before reaching the front line. Wear shoes that are easy to take off and avoid wearing belts or anything metal that will set off the alarm.
Pack your carry-on wisely to avoid having to check a bag. Only bring the essentials and make sure everything can fit in your overhead bin or under the seat in front of you. Be mindful of the liquids rule – each container must be 3.4 ounces (100 milliliters) or less and all containers must fit in a single, clear, quart-sized bag. Weather conditions can be unpredictable so be sure to check the status of your flight and the weather forecast to avoid delays.
4. Keep your home safe while you travel
Thanksgiving is a time to gather with family and friends, but it can also be a time of worry for those leaving their homes behind. After all, an empty house is an easy target for burglars.
Luckily, there are a few simple steps you can take to help keep your home safe while you’re away. First, resist the temptation to post on social media about your upcoming trip. Not only does this give potential burglars a heads-up that your home will be unoccupied, but it can also tell them exactly when you’ll be gone.
- Make sure all doors and windows are locked before you leave. This may seem obvious, but it’s often overlooked in the hustle and bustle of packing and getting ready for vacation.
- Put your mail on hold or have a neighbor collect it for you, so it doesn’t pile up outside. An overflowing mailbox is a dead giveaway that no one is home.
- Don’t leave keys where someone could easily find them – under the doormat or in the mailbox are both apparent choices that burglars will check first.
- Finally, smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors are essential in any home. Be sure to test them before you leave to make sure they’re working properly. Household fire and carbon monoxide accidents increase during winter, so it’s better to be safe than sorry.
5. Pack for the unknown
Not to be doom and gloom, but there are those rare incidents where perhaps you get stuck on the side of the road for an extended period of time. Having an emergency kit with you when you travel is never a bad idea
According to Ready.gov, here is a list of things to consider keeping in your car:
- Battery-powered or hand crank radio and an NOAA Weather Radio with tone alert
- First aid kit
- Extra batteries
- Whistle (to signal for help)
- Plastic sheeting and duct tape
- Moist towelettes, garbage bags, and plastic ties
- Wrench or pliers
- Local maps
- Cell phone with chargers and a backup battery
Sure, this list might seem a bit intense and even over the top, but things like water are often an afterthought. This is something you can keep in your home even and bring with you for long road trips.
Of course, you can also always make sure you have maps of the area, a car emergency kit, and the number for AAA!
Bonus: Black Friday Shopping
Depending on whether or not Black Friday shopping is still your thing, you might want to prepare ahead of time if you go.
Consider traffic congestion, busy parking lots, and packed stores before you leave your house. While these things pose common traffic hazards, as say, a crowded commute, always be mindful of people driving late at night after Thanksgiving festivities!
On another note, there are even rules to Black Friday shopping, like “Never argue over an item.” You might want to consider reading up on those too!
The end goal is to enjoy turkey, delicious sides, and time with family and friends this Thanksgiving. While not every trip danger can be mitigated, you can do your part to prepare accordingly and avoid issues as much as possible.
LYT is doing its part in enacting preemptive technology to help first responders and cities with their traffic safety and mobility issues. We’re here to build better communities by reducing traffic congestion.