Slowing Down and Avoiding Car Accidents this Thanksgiving
Car accidents happen when we least expect it. Reports of a fatal crash killing a semi-truck driver recently reminds us how quickly life can change when someone runs a red light and how important it is to start slowing down and avoiding car accidents this Thanksgiving, and every day after. In this instance the truck driver died, the passengers in the car it hit, lived. Car accident statistics show that nearly 70 percent of car accidents occur within 10 miles of home.
Thanksgiving car accidents don’t only happen on Thanksgiving Day or while traveling for the holiday. In fact, driving to the grocery store to buy all the foods and ingredients for your Thanksgiving dinner can involve a car accident such as being rear-ended by a distracted driver from out of town.
Avoiding car accidents this Thanksgiving requires adopting our list of safety practices that make you a safer driver year-round. While it takes a little practice and patience, the habit of slowing down and being safe can save your life and the lives of others. The more we use our GPS and cruise control, the more we can all relax while driving and learn to slow down and arrive there safely.
Avoiding Car Accidents this Thanksgiving:
- Get your vehicle serviced and checked out before Thanksgiving travel.
It’s a good habit to get an oil change before traveling for holidays and get your vehicle looked at before hitting the road to travel to visit family and friends this Thanksgiving. If you know you need brakes, steering, cooling, or any other repair, get it done before you risk your car or truck breaking down or causing a car accident.
- Drive during daylight and use main, well-traveled roads and highways.
You might appreciate getting to your destination or returning home before dark. Fatigue can be a cause of car accidents as well as driving in the dark. Driving during the daylight also helps avoid drivers under the influence. Staying on main highways and tollways also helps drivers stay safe. Although the back roads might be scenic, they might not be the safer choice.
- Know where you are going and whether there will be construction.
Most GPS apps and systems offer a preview of the route you take to get to your Thanksgiving holiday events. Do you recognize all the turns, or are new and improved routes you have never traveled? Construction projects and new roads can alter your planned route, so know where you are going before you drive.
- Use a GPS system you can trust, one with current updates.
Before we had GPS apps on our phones or navigation systems in our cars and trucks, we had to know the way to where we were headed and try to “make good time” and beat your estimated time to travel. By using your GPS, even though you know the route, you have an estimated arrival time which means there is no reason to speed or be surprised by unexpected construction or detours.
- Learn your new car or truck and don’t be caught off guard by new technologies.
If you have a new car, learn it. Some of the new safety features offered on the latest cars and trucks can be surprising to drivers who are not yet accustomed to their new vehicle and how it operates and reacts to the road. For example, when you get too close to another vehicle yours might use its own brakes to slow you down and disengage the cruise control. Adaptive braking cruise control can be startling to people who have never used it for. Practicing with your new car and features should take place before you hit busy freeways full of Thanksgiving travelers.
- Stay in your lane and increase your following distance.
Speeding and tailgating are bad habits that are easy to pick up when everyone else is doing it. Following the leader might appeal to your concerns about being late, but when you are on the way to a family or friend get together, enjoy the drive and anticipation by slowing down and keeping a safer following distance. If you stay in the middle lane and use your cruise, the chances of a collision are greatly reduced. The more you practice slowing down and staying in your lane, the less concerned you may be about getting to the next stoplight quicker than everyone else.
- Manage distractions while driving, including children and family.
If you know you have a long drive ahead of you and your family, be prepared to prevent distractions. For example, have enough ready to keep kids entertained and occupied during a long family drive. When older children also have headphones and devices ready to keep them occupied, there may be less confusion and distraction in the vehicle.