It is a short work week for many. People are anxious to get to their Thanksgiving destinations to enjoy turkey and pumpkin pie with their loved ones. For a large number of festivity goers, this involves travel.

Travel is up overall this year, with one million more Americans expected to travel this Thanksgiving than last year, according to AAA’s travel forecast. 9 in 10 travelers will forgo crowded airports and long lines in favor of automobile travel. AAA projects that 43.5 million travelers will be on the road, which would be the most since 2005.

Driving can be convenient and less costly than air travel, but it can also be quite stressful. Drivers have traffic, weather conditions, and fellow holiday travelers to contend with.

Be mindful of your actions and aware of how to maximize your own safety and that of those around you. Holiday events and celebrations can be invaluable times for family and friends to get together. However, these celebrations can quickly turn into tragedy when people are killed or injured in accidents. Traffic citations, DUI charges, and other driving-related offenses can also put a damper on holiday festivities.

Dellino Law Group wishes you a Happy Thanksgiving and cautions safety on the road. Please see our 10 tips for staying safe during holiday driving:

  • Don’t drink and driveIf there will be drinking at your holiday get-together, choose a designated driver who will remain alcohol free.
  • Make sure the car is readyBe sure your vehicle is properly maintained, in good shape for travel, and ready for winter driving conditions.
  • Map your route out ahead of time when possible. Have a plan and be aware of projected weather conditions.
  • Buckle upEnsure you and your passengers are properly restrained in seat belts and car safety seats.
  • Avoid fatigueGet a good night sleep the night before, take regular breaks, and share the driving if possible. If you are tired, pull off the road to a rest area.
  • Have an emergency planHave a cell phone and charger with you so it can be used in case of an emergency. Keep the contact information for emergency roadside assistance handy.
  • Do not text while driving and minimize cell phone use in order to keep your full attention on the road. Utilize a hands-free device if you need to use your cell phone. See our prior blog post for details about cell phone and texting while driving laws in Washington State.
  • Keep a safe following distanceallowing for ample time to react to the traffic around you. If someone is tailgating you, allow them to pass. Don’t try to compete with impatient and aggressive drivers.
  • Watch your speedDrive to the conditions and don’t drive over the speed limit. Give yourself plenty of time to get to where you are going so you are not in a rush.
  • Remain calm. If you feel stressed or irritable, take some deep breaths and stay calm. Don’t drive with road rage – This compromises the safety of yourself and the people around you.