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Home for the Holidays: Thanksgiving Driving Tips

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Thanksgiving is always a busy time for travelers, but this year is supposed to be the busiest since before the recession hit in 2008. AAA is estimating that more than 46 million Americans will drive 50 miles or more on Thanksgiving, which is 4.2% more than last year. Additionally, the Mid-Atlantic States are bracing for a Nor’easter that’ll dump rain and snow on multiple cities, impacting travel for millions. Seems like the perfect time to go over some Thanksgiving driving tips that will help your journey go nice and smoothly this holiday weekend.

Check the Weather

Thanksgiving driving tips

Don’t get caught in a storm

If you’re in a Northern state, chances are you might be facing some wintery weather. Check the weather forecast before heading out to ensure you won’t encounter any dangerous weather. If you’re facing snow or ice, make sure you’re comfortable driving in it—otherwise, consider leaving earlier or later in order to avoid the worst of the weather.

Consider Leaving Earlier

Can you swing an extra day off work? Or perhaps you’re an early riser who is used to seeing the sun come up. In order to avoid the worst of the traffic this Thanksgiving, consider leaving the day prior, or as early in the morning as possible—even the middle of the night. You might be a bit tired later on in the day, but you’ll get to your destination more quickly and with much less stress.

Road Trip Vehicle: 2015 Buick Encore Information

Eliminate Distractions

Thanksgiving driving tips

Don’t text and drive. Ever.

While you should adhere to this advice at all times when behind the wheel of the car, it’s more important than ever to have your full attention on the road when driving in heavy traffic. If you’re busily talking on your cell phone or arguing with a passenger, you’re less likely to be able to respond to hazards in a timely manner. Try to keep the car as calm and distraction-free as possible to avoid a possible Thanksgiving fatality—either for you, or for another driver on the road.

Prepare Your Vehicle

Thanksgiving driving tips

Get your car checked by a mechanic

Have you been putting off that oil change and tire rotation for the last few months? Now is the time to step up and make sure your vehicle is completely ready for a long journey. Take your car to your mechanic for a check-up today or tomorrow, and the likelihood of you getting stranded on the side of the road en route to your grandma’s house diminishes significantly.

Be Prepared for Emergencies

Thanksgiving driving tips

Be prepared for emergencies

When the roads are this busy and the weather is this unpredictable, it’s possible you could end up stranded in a snow drift or stuck in a traffic jam for hours. Make sure your emergency kit is fully stocked with high-energy snacks, water, blankets, gloves, a flashlight with extra batteries, a spare cell phone charger, a first-air kit, maps, flares, tire repair kits, and ice scrapers. These are things you should keep in your car at all times during the entire winter season.

In Case of Emergency: Learn More About OnStar

No matter how far you’re traveling for Thanksgiving, remember to do it safely. It’s more important you arrive a little late, but in one piece, than not arrive at all due to a traffic accident. And happy Thanksgiving!