Thanksgiving travel driving guide

If you are planning to hit the road to visit family and friends this Thanksgiving, you will not be alone. Last year AAA estimated over 40 million people traveled 50 miles or more over the Thanksgiving holiday weekend.

This year the numbers are expected to be similar which makes drivers staying safe on the roads our top priority. Brian Wakefield, Director of Operations at Elephant Auto Insurance, believes driver education is key to road safety, “staying safe on the roads during a holiday weekend like Thanksgiving can be challenging due to the large number of drivers who will be traveling alongside you. That is why we feel strongly about educating customers on how to do their part to keep the roads safe this thanksgiving.”

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s, there are more than 1,700 fatalities and over 840,000 injuries a year on public highways result from car accidents. With more people expected to be on the roads over the Thanksgiving holiday we compiled a list of our top safe driving tips for Thanksgiving travel.

Be prepared

Whether you are going down the street or heading out of town, we suggest taking a few minutes to prepare before leaving your home. No matter the distance you are traveling; don’t hit the roads this Thanksgiving without a full tank of gas. Fuel prices can rise during peak travel seasons, so make sure you check local gas prices for the cheapest in your area. While at the gas station take the time to check your fluids too.

In addition, make sure before setting out that you have the directions. A map is handy, but a GPS system can also help identify gas stations and restaurants on your trip. Most systems can assist in identifying alternative routes if you happen to run into traffic congestion. Finally, before hitting the roads, double check the weather; knowing the weather forecast could affect your travel plans. You never know what may happen, so it is better to take a moment and make sure you are prepared.

Pack smart

We all want to avoid the “are we there yet?” game at all costs, right? If you are traveling with children, pack plenty of snacks, water, games, and DVDs to help keep them entertained. The same is true if you are traveling with pets. Unfortunately, our pets cannot articulate when they are getting a bit stir crazy. To prevent your pet from stressing, bring water, food, toys, and their leash which will allow you to run out a bit of their energy during your stops along the way. Our pets are an important part of the family. This is why it is important to keep them safe while traveling by securing them with either a harness or within a crate. In addition, this will prevent them from becoming a dangerous distraction while you are driving.

Stay calm

During peak travel times we expect traffic. With a large number of drivers on the roads anything can happen. However, if you stay calm you will be able to handle any situation. Remember keep a safe distance between you and the car in front of you, this will allow you more time to react should something happen. If you are leaving early or driving late to avoid traffic, remember it is just as important to take your time. Make sure you have plenty of rest, and if you feel sleepy, pull over and switch drivers if possible. Finally, buckle up. Always buckle your seatbelt as well as your children’s seatbelts.

If you are involved in an accident, once you are in a safe location report your claim to your auto insurance company. For Elephant Auto Insurance customers report your claim online or call an Elephant claims representative at 1-877-218-7865. The holidays are a great time to spend with family and friends. Take your time, be safe, and have a happy Thanksgiving!