Thanksgiving Safe Driving Tips

The Thanksgiving weekend signals the start of the 2011 holiday season and a flood of drivers heading down the Interstate for a family turkey feast. While it’s not the busiest travel time of the year (5 to 10 days in summer get that honor), it can be one of the most dangerous. The National Safety Commission reports that there are nearly 400 automobile fatalities and thousands of injuries nationwide each year during the long Thanksgiving weekend. Distraction, alcohol, inclement weather, icy roads and heavy traffic all combine to create hazardous conditions. Keep your car insurance premiums low and avoid becoming a statistic with these Thanksgiving safe driving tips.

  • Plan your route and an alternate. Even with GPS systems, it’s easy to get lost and confused if you’re driving in unfamiliar territory. Set up NAVTEQ’s ahead of time so you can check real-time traffic conditions in route.
  • Designate a navigator. Heavy traffic or poor weather conditions are no time to be fumbling with a cell phone.
  • Gas up the car, check fluid levels, tire inflation and window cleaner reservoirs the day before you travel. Try online services like to find the best gas bargains while you’re on the road.
  • Get a good night’s sleep before you travel. If you’re feeling drowsy on a long haul, pull over and take a 20-minute nap.
  • Schedule regular stops every couple of hours. Get out of the car and stretch your legs for a few minutes before continuing.
  • Allow an extra hour or two of travel time to compensate for traffic and weather delays. Nobody will complain if you arrive early. They’ll probably just hand you a potato peeler and put you to work.
  • If you don’t have a DVD player in your car, rent one for the kids (with headphones, unless you want to hear the ABCD song played over and over and over.) Pack in snacks, too. Spoiled appetites are preferable to whiny, hungry children.
  • Don’t slack off on safety rules.  Young kids need to be in properly installed car seats and everyone has to wear a seat belt.
  • Drive with your lights, even in daytime. It increases your visibility and in some states, like California, it’s the law during bad weather conditions.
  • If possible, plan your trip to leave on the Tuesday before Thanksgiving and return on the Saturday or Monday after. You’ll miss the heavy traffic on Wednesday, Thursday, Friday and Sunday.
  • Number 1 Thanksgiving safe driving tip: Please don’t drink and drive.


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