There will be a significant number of drivers on the road this holiday season, and trying to remain safe may be easier said than done. While some motorists may seek out a better auto insurance policy to protect their vehicles, they may also want to consider some ways to keep themselves and their families safe.
It is important for those who are traveling long distances to be familiar with the route they will be traveling before they head out, according to a report from the American Trucking Associations (ATA) and its Share the Road campaign. This includes knowing the exit name and number before hitting the road, as well as paying close attention to the signs while driving. This is because there can be a higher risk of collisions when making lane changes that are not expected.
"Thanksgiving is a challenging time on the highways," said Jeff Halford of Con-way Freight and professional driver for Share the Road. "Between motorists visiting families or shopping during the start of the holiday shopping season, our highways are busier than ever. There is nothing better than patience and safe driving practices behind the wheel."
Many tasks available to ensure safety
Trucks can also be an issue on the road, so drivers of smaller vehicles need to be aware of them, the report noted. Cutting in front of trucks can be quite dangerous, as they cannot stop as quickly as smaller models.
Avoiding distracted driving is also something that is important for motorists. The report explained that focusing on the road can be a significant benefit, as turning attention to something else for as little as two seconds can increase the potential for an accident by two-fold.
Staying off the road during significantly difficult conditions can be important, the report said. This is because it can be much harder to get to a destination safely.
Wearing a seatbelt can save lives, and this is important no matter when a person is on the road. The report explained that having one of these devices on can cut the chances of death in an accident by 45 percent, and is one of the easiest ways to protect those in the car while driving.
"Always buckle up," said Dale Williams of Trimac Transportation and professional driver for Share the Road. "Weather can also be a factor during this time of year, so check weather conditions before you get in your vehicle."
Driving slow is another option for drivers, as it can help those motorists keep a better handle on other drivers around them, the report noted. This is because there are many people driving during the holiday season, which can make driving fast a dangerous exercise. Another aspect of this is to ensure that there is space between vehicles, as it will help make the situation safer.
Slightly fewer cars projected on the road this year
There may be a bit more comfort for drivers this Thanksgiving weekend, as others may be avoiding the road, though the figure is not a significant drop. According to a report from AAA, a total of 43.4 million people will be leaving home to celebrate the holiday, which is 1.5 percent lower than last year's 44 million.
On the road, approximately 38.9 million people will be driving, the report noted. This is 1.6 percent fewer than in 2012.
"While the economy continues to improve, the sluggish pace of the recovery is creating uncertainty in the minds of some consumers and therefore AAA is projecting a slight decline in the number of Thanksgiving travelers this year," said Marshall Doney, chief operating officer of AAA.
With the still-high level of drivers on the road, some may want to take the many precautions laid out here, but also consider looking at a new car insurance policy to save money after a vacation.