Thanksgiving is just around the corner, meaning that millions of people in Illinois are busy preparing for the festivities. If you are like many, you may be planning to spend Thanksgiving with your friends and family members over a meal. Some Chicago residents will stay close to home but a large number of them will take to the roads and travel. In fact, AAA estimates that more than 46.3 million Americans will travel more than 50 miles in their efforts to get to their final destination. This is the most traffic anticipated for a Thanksgiving weekend since 2007 and an approximate increase of 4.2 percent since 2013.
Increased travel means there will be more cars on the road, greater congestion, and an increased possibility for a car accident to occur. In fact, Thanksgiving weekend hosts a greater number of crashes than a typical weekend in Chicago, and many of those accidents leave victims injured. The best way to prevent a crash is to think before you drive and to follow safety tips, including the following:
– Gear up: Before you hit the roads, make sure you have everything you need. Fill up your gas tank and consider taking salt and a pair of boots with you in case they are needed if inclement weather strikes.
– Check your vehicle first: It is a good idea to identify potential issues as soon as possible, and ideally, before you leave your home. To do this, consider a visual inspection of your car. Make sure your tires are properly inflated and that your brake lights and turn signals work. Review your vehicle’s maintenance history and get a tune up or an oil change if needed.
– Plan a route: If you are driving somewhere unfamiliar, plan out your route ahead of time. In addition to saving you frustration from getting lost, having a designated course means that you are less likely to miss a turn and less likely to cause a collision by being confused by your surroundings.
– Eliminate distractions if you are driving: Nearly anything can be a distraction to a motorist behind the wheel, including a radio, a conversation with a passenger, or a sudden increase in traffic. One of the most common forms of distraction is a cell phone, whether being used for a telephone conversation or to text someone. To be safe, put away the distractions to the extent possible and focus on the road.
– Drive defensively: Even if you take all possible precautions, other drivers on the road will still pose a threat. Watch out for hazardous actions on the part of other motorists and take evasive action when necessary and possible.