It’s the day before Thanksgiving, one of the busiest travel days of the year. Here’s some common sense tips to help make your journey a little less stressful – and a whole lot safer.
Chances are if you’re reading this on the day before Thanksgiving, you’re either not going anywhere for the holiday weekend, you’re stuck at work hoping they’ll cut you loose early, or you procrastinated until the last minute and you need to leave five minutes ago. Still, regardless of your situation, I’m fairly sure these tips will come in handy at some point during the next six weeks as the end of the year comes upon us.
Leave early, if you can. Not just so you can beat the traffic, but to also give yourself and your companions plenty of time to reach your final destination. Leaving early also reduces stress and the pressing need to drive well above the speed limit. Take plenty of rest breaks and if you start feeling sleepy, pull off and grab a few minutes nap.
Look over your car before you take off. Tires look low? Any fluids showing up underneath the car? Brake lights working? (Have the kids help you on that one.) Got a spare tire, jack, flares and a first aid kit in the trunk with all the luggage?
Make sure everyone buckles up. If you have booster or car seats for the young ones, make sure they’re securely fastened. Couldn’t hurt to make sure the child-proof locks are ‘on’ as well.
Got a map or GPS? It’s best to be prepared for possible alternate routes, in case of accidents, road work, closures or other surprises. It helps to have a backup plan, just in case. (Check our article from last year or from Monday’s Washington Post for some great alternate route information.) And guys? Don’t be afraid to ask for directions. Your family will thank you later.
Check traffic and weather conditions for your departure and destination locations before you go. If possible, find out what the news station is on the radio dial in your location so you can have ready access to any updates on traffic and road conditions.
Make sure you have no distractions. Drivers have enough to pay attention to on these busy travel days; keep your cell phone off if you don’t have a hands-free setup. And no texting! If you just have to text or call someone, do it during a rest stop. And if your companions are using a DVD player or other entertainment device, make sure the noise level is at a comfortable level and that the screen is not in your range of vision.
Keep these tips in mind and we’ll happily see you back in the DC area next week!