How to Avoid the Trappings of Holiday Travel

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Holiday travel is quickly approaching and with it comes holiday accidents. AAA is projecting that 54.3 million Americans will be traveling 50+ miles from home this holiday season so what does that mean for the roadways?

The upcoming Thanksgiving weekend will see the highest Thanksgiving travel volume since 2005 with 2.5 million more people traveling on the roads and in the skies than last year. INRIX, a global mobility analytics company, predicts travel times in Atlanta, GA will start to increase on Monday, November 19th beginning with the evening commute.

More Traffic on the Roads

The odds of getting into a car accident increase exponentially during times where more cars are on the road, such as rush hour or holiday season. Add to that less than optimal driving conditions like inclement weather and you have a recipe for disaster.

The Thanksgiving travel season is defined as Wednesday, November 21st to Sunday, November 25th. In Atlanta, GA the worst time to hit the road is predicted as Tuesday, November 20th from 5-7 PM. The best days for travel will be on Thanksgiving Day, Friday and Saturday with increased travel time on Sunday as everyone comes back home from the long weekend.

The season for holiday parties means that the next three months will be among the highest for DUI arrests. The most traveled holiday period of the year is Thanksgiving weekend with DUI arrests at their highest between Thanksgiving and New Year’s weekend. Remember to drink responsibility this holiday season and use rideshares if you are unable to safely drive yourself. The cost of a DUI goes beyond money and your freedom.

Check Your Car Before Hitting the Road

Wintery conditions are hit or miss in Atlanta, GA. If you’re travelling across state lines for your holiday gatherings there are a few things you should check before making your trip. You never know what kind of weather you’ll encounter so it’s best to do a full safety inspection before going on road trips. Whether you’re taking your own vehicle or renting one for a longer trip, make sure your car is ready for whatever lies ahead.

Inspect your windshield wipers.

If your wipers are damaged, this could reduce visibility during inclement weather. If the wipers are streaking or skipping on the windshield you should consider replacing them. Install heavy-duty winter wipers if you’re travelling to an area that receives a lot of snow and ice.

Top off windshield washer fluid.

Windshield washer fluid helps your windshield wipers perform at their best during wintery weather. Before you take off for Grandma’s house, fill your vehicle’s windshield washer reservoir with high-quality, “no-freeze” fluid — and keep an extra gallon stored in your car.

Gauge tire pressure.

Proper tire pressure will reduce the risk of a flat tire or a blowout. Check each tire and make sure it’s filled to the manufacturer’s recommended inflation pressure as specified in the owner’s manual. You will need to check the tire pressure periodically throughout your trip, as the temperature drops so too will tire pressure.

Stock your vehicle with essentials.

Having an emergency kit in your car is a great precaution. Many may remember Georgia’s Snowmageddon of 2014 where most of Atlanta was debilitated by 2 inches of snow. You never know when an emergency kit will come in handy so take the time to compile one before leaving. Some things you should include are:

  • Heavy blanket
  • Warm gloves and hat
  • Bottled Water
  • Food that has a long shelf life (granola bars)
  • Ice scraper
  • Petty cash
  • Tissues/paper towels

Ensure that your lights and signals are working correctly.

Walk around your vehicle to check all your lights are in working order. Besides the safety factor, there are more police on the roads at the holidays. You don’t want to get pulled over for a broken tail light in every town you pass through.

Consider adding roadside assistance to your rental car or personal policy.

Most auto insurance offers this as an add-on to your existing plan. If you aren’t already signed up for roadside assistance, considering updating your coverage before your trip. Towing services, flat-tire repair, and lock-out assistance may be something you need over the next few months.

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