The holidays are almost here, and many families are preparing to travel long distances to celebrate Thanksgiving together. While road trips can be fun, they also come with their own risks that all drivers should be aware of.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), over 800 lives were lost in motor vehicle crashes during the Thanksgiving travel period between 2017-2021. These alarming statistics serve as an important reminder for drivers to focus on safety throughout their holiday journeys.
At TSL Insurance Group, we want your family to arrive safely at your Thanksgiving destination. That is why we’ve created this article with tips to help you during your road trip to see your family. By following these tips, you will have a safe and stress-free journey during Thanksgiving.
Preparation for Your Thanksgiving Road Trip
When planning your road trip during the Thanksgiving holiday season, it is important to know what steps you need to take while on the road. Below, you will find some helpful tips for preparing for your trip.
Clean The Car
As you will spend a lot of time inside the vehicle, a clean interior is necessary. Cleaning the windows with a microfiber cloth can improve visibility and eliminate dust and debris inside the car. Having a nice, clean interior can also make the journey more pleasant.
Check The Vehicle’s Components
Before embarking on any long road trip, you should always check your car’s components to ensure your vehicle is safe and roadworthy.
This includes checking fluid levels such as oil and coolant, tire conditions including the spare, as well as the condition of the bulbs and the car’s brakes.
Make sure your oil is at the correct level and, if needed, top it up with the manufacturer’s specified oil. Your coolant level also needs to be at the correct level, and if not, top it up.
Your tires should have adequate tread and no punctures, and this includes the spare tire as well.
Inspect the brakes of your car to ensure there is sufficient pad life and that they are not binding. All of your light bulbs should be functional.
If you are battling to prepare your vehicle for a long road trip, we recommend visiting your local trusted mechanic for a thorough inspection.
Have a Roadside Emergency Kit Ready
Having a roadside emergency kit ready before your Thanksgiving road trip is crucial to keep your family safe in case of unexpected issues on the drive.
Pack a bag with essentials such as jumper cables, flares, blankets, water, non-perishable snacks, a flashlight, a first aid kit, and other supplies. You can also purchase one from your local store.
Being prepared with these emergency items can make a big difference if you encounter a flat tire, battery trouble, or other problems far from help.
Make Your Road Trip Safe and Memorable with Stops Along the Way
A road trip during the Thanksgiving holiday can be a fun adventure, but spending long hours on the road can lead to driving fatigue, increasing the risk of accidents and mistakes occurring.
To keep your trip safe and enjoyable, plan to make regular stops every 2-3 hours. Whenever possible, time your breaks to align with interesting attractions or scenic areas.
Stopping to explore roadside oddities, small-town museums, historic landmarks, or state parks lets you stretch your legs, snap some photos, and make memories. It also gives your body and mind a chance to recharge before continuing your journey.
By scheduling meaningful stops, you can avoid driving while drowsy. And you’ll arrive at your destination feeling refreshed, with stories to share and photos to cherish for years to come.
Bring Snacks and Entertainment
While on the road, you may get hungry or bored. This is why it’s important to bring snacks such as chips, sweets, and fruits for your road trip.
Also, be sure to have plenty of water and other beverages to stay hydrated. If you’re the driver, avoid consuming alcohol. Having snacks and drinks on hand helps keep your energy levels up and prevents crankiness during long drives.
Listening to your favorite music or a podcast can also help mitigate the boredom of long-distance driving, so plan your road trip playlists so you can enjoy the drive.
For families with young children, bringing age-appropriate entertainment such as books, coloring books, tablets, and toys can keep kids occupied and prevent boredom-induced fussiness. Packing healthy, kid-friendly snacks is also important to avoid hunger tantrums.
Having activities and distractions for kids will prevent them from being noisy or disruptive, which causes stress for parents trying to concentrate on the road. A little planning can go a long way for family road trip success.
Check Your Insurance Policies
Making sure you have adequate insurance coverage is a key part of planning any long-distance road trip. Take some time to review your auto insurance policy and understand exactly what is covered.
Collision and comprehensive coverage help pay for damage to your vehicle, while medical payments coverage helps cover injuries to you and your passengers. Personal injury protection may cover lost wages and other accident-related expenses.
Familiarize yourself with your policy’s coverage limits and deductible amounts. Higher limits offer more protection. Also, verify that your policy includes roadside assistance for help with breakdowns or flat tires. Consider updating your policy if you believe you need more protection.
Black Friday Driving Tips: Handling Heavy Traffic & Parking Lots
Scoring amazing deals on Black Friday often means braving crowded parking lots and traffic congestion near stores. When driving and parking during this busy shopping day, prioritize safety. Below is a list of some things to be mindful of.
Parking Lot Safety on Black Friday
Black Friday shopping brings out crowds that can make parking lots extremely hazardous for vehicles. With the rushed crowds and congested parking areas, the risk of your car getting scratched, dinged, or hit by other cars or stray shopping carts increases exponentially.
To maximize your car’s safety on Black Friday, search for a parking spot farther from the main entrances, even if it means parking in the back of the lot. Parking further away can help reduce the risks of damage.
Also, be vigilant about parking within the designated lines to prevent contact with cars maneuvering into adjacent spaces. Being cautious about where you park amid the Black Friday frenzy can go a long way in keeping your car dent-free.
Road Safety During Black Friday
It is important to understand that the roads are much busier than usual on Black Friday as people rush to snag deals. With the heavy traffic and rushed pace, it’s critical to remain focused and patient while driving. Avoid distractions like cell phones and stay alert to sudden stops or lane changes around you.
Allocate extra time to reach your destination safely and be prepared for extra congestion, even for normally straightforward commutes. Drive defensively, maintain a safe traveling speed, and obey the basic road rules to remain safe.
With so much driving before and after the holiday, it pays to protect yourself with adequate auto insurance coverage. If you are looking for car insurance in Lafayette, LA, for your Thanksgiving road trip, please feel free to contact us at the TSL Insurance Group for a free quote.