Last year, the weather played a significant role for those who traveled over the Thanksgiving weekend. With the holiday rapidly approaching this year, motorists can rest assured that the weather is expected to be much more cooperative this time around as neither snow nor ice are predicted. However, rain showers may strike Chicago and the surrounding areas on and off beginning on Thursday and congestion on the roadways is anticipated so those who will be driving should still plan ahead.
This year, AAA estimates that 42 million Americans will take a road trip for Thanksgiving of 50 miles or more from their homes, meaning that millions of vehicles will be trying to travel in a relatively short amount of time. If you are one of those who will take to the roads, bear in mind that congestion should be expected and that your travel times might be much longer than normal due to increased traffic on the roadways.
With a larger than average number of drivers, number of vehicles, and greater congestion comes an increased likelihood that a car accident will take place. While you may not be able to guarantee your safety, you can better your odds of remaining collision-free by following these safety tips:
- Plan Ahead: Whether you are traveling alone, with friends, or with family, it can be a stressful experience to drive over the Thanksgiving weekend. Do your best to remove as much stress as possible by planning your trip ahead of time to the extent practical and stick to your plan unless unexpected circumstances arise. Think about what time you want to leave your home and what time you hope to arrive at your destination. Know what route you will be taking and familiarize yourself with any turns, intersections, or landmarks that you may encounter. Make sure you have enough gasoline to get to your end point or be prepared to stop along the way so that you will not end up stranded on the side of the road.
- Check the Weather Forecast: While Chicago is not expecting snow or ice this weekend, many other parts of the country are so you should check the weather along the path you intend to drive. If you are likely to encounter inclement weather, be prepared by dressing warmly, having snow gear in your car, and having a snow brush ready should you need it.
- Expect the Unexpected: Holiday weekends bring out a number of drivers who are unfamiliar with the roads on which they are driving. This can lead to confusion which may lead those motorists to take sudden, unexpected actions which can present a safety hazard. Be prepared for the questionable driving of others and anticipate that some drivers may act unreasonably this weekend.
- Do Not Drink and Drive: Many will choose to celebrate this weekend with alcohol but if you do, do not drive a vehicle while under the influence. It is a crime to drive while drunk in all 50 states of the nation and doing so can lead a motorist to experience criminal charges, traffic fines and fees, and legal responsibility for the injuries that may stem should a car accident take place. If you are celebrating with others who are drinking, do not let them drive and instead, opt to use a designated driver, public transportation, a taxi cab, or even a ride share if needed.
- Ditch the Distractions: One of the biggest threats to Chicago drivers these days are cell phones and other electronic devices. Simply hearing a message alert or a new email come in can cause many motorists to instinctively pick up their phones to check the message or even to respond to it, but doing so is extremely risky and not worth it. If you are driving, do not text, send emails, or otherwise use your phone in a way that can be distracting from your job at hand: operating your car. Experts say even hands-free phone calls can be a distraction so limit any cell phone use as much as possible to decrease your odds of causing a collision.
The personal injury attorneys at Abels & Annes, P.C. wish you a Happy Thanksgiving. We hope that you are able to enjoy the holiday and celebrate free from harm, but know that if you become the victim of an accident, we will be standing by to help you 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
We offer a free case consultation to all injury victims who call us toll free at (855) 529-2442 or locally at (312) 924-7575 and we provide it without any obligation. If you are looking for answers about your legal options or if you need help seeking relief, call us today and take advantage of our free case consultation by speaking to one of our licensed lawyers.
Prior Blog Entry:
Megabus Accidents: Why Passengers are at Risk, Chicago Personal Injury Lawyer Blog, published November 23, 2015.