With Thanksgiving almost upon us, millions of people will be hitting the roads and highways in the coming hours, driving to destinations near and far in order to spend the long holiday weekend with family and friends.
Indeed, AAA Carolinas is estimating that close to 1.2 million North Carolinians, roughly 90 percent of the state’s holiday travelers, will be going 50-plus miles by car over Thanksgiving, eager to take advantage of the lowest fuel prices in eight years.
As heavy as the traffic is expected to be here in the Tarheel State, it’s expected to reach similar or even higher levels across much of the nation with some forecasts showing total traffic levels reaching the highest since 2007.
The unfortunate reality, of course, is that with any dramatic increase in motorists comes a dramatic increase in the risk of serious accidents.
Experts indicate, however, that there are a few simple steps that motorists can take in the coming days to help keep themselves and their families safe on their respective journeys:
- Don’t speed: Always drive at or below the posted speed limit, and expect that there will be congestion and/or delays.
- Disconnect and drive: Always resist the urge to talk, text or utilize electronic devices behind the wheel, and take steps to minimize other potential distractions so that your focus remains on the road ahead.
- Buckle up: Always buckle your seatbelt, as the risk of ejection is always very real and can occur at speeds as low as 35 miles-per-hour.
- Avoid alcohol: Always avoid intoxicating substances if planning to drive, as even one drink can affect response times or decision-making capabilities.
- Plan ahead: Always consider traveling on the least busy travel days if possible (i.e., Thanksgiving day and the Saturday after), and during hours when fellow motorists are more apt to be alert.
Here’s hoping for a safe Thanksgiving on the roads and highways here in North Carolina and across the U.S.