The Wednesday before Thanksgiving and the Sunday after – are among the busiest travel days of the year. Plan ahead so traffic, weather, and stress don’t gobble away your Thanksgiving holiday.
- Check out your car. In addition to filling up with gas, check your oil, brake fluid and tire pressure before getting on the road.
- Be prepared. Bring supplies in the event of an accident or medical issue. Stock your car with an emergency kit – especially a flashlight, blanket, first-aid kit, and some basic tools. Also, bring water and extra healthy snacks.
- Skip the rush. The worst time for traffic falls between 3-5 p.m. the Wednesday before Thanksgiving. If possible, leave before 2 p.m. or after 7 p.m. to beat the rush. Or leave on Thanksgiving morning when the traffic is a breeze. Unless you are traveling an extreme distance, leaving early Thursday morning should give you more than enough time to make it wherever you are going in time for dinner. Dr. Ian Holbrook from Baptist Health Richmond remarks, “This season, focus on spending time with loved ones, family and friends. Invest in those relationships and savor the season.”
- Plan an alternative route. More travelers mean more cars and more accidents. Plan at least one alternate route that you can take in order to avoid huge delays or bad weather conditions.
- Don’t be distracted. Cell phones and driving don’t mix. If you need to send a message, make a call or review traffic on an app, give your phone to a passenger or pull over.
- Observe traffic laws. Follow speed limits and don’t drink and drive.
- Buckle up. Always use your seat belt. Make sure children are properly secured in a car seat and are seated in the rear seats if they are under 13.
- Head home Saturday. Traffic patterns show that you’re better off driving home from your Thanksgiving destination a day early. Sunday is by far the worst day to be making your return trip, and the traffic will only increase as the day goes on and the last of the stragglers are getting back on the road.