Miranda couldn’t wait to see her family. She couldn’t believe that it had been almost eight months since she last saw her mom. She was able to take off from work a little early to do some of the packing before her husband got home and they would leave. After packing all of her clothing, she glanced out the window and realized her husband was not home yet. As she sat down, she began to think if they had everything ready. It was a long drive. Were they really ready to travel?
Each Thanksgiving, millions of Americans travel to see family, friends, and others. Taking the appropriate measures before you travel can make the difference between a great experience and a horrible tragedy. Sometimes, because of the chaos of getting everything ready, people forget to take proper stock of their vehicle and the time it will take to get where they are going. For example, according to the Utah Department of Transporation (UDOT), heavy traffic delays are common around the Thanksgiving holiday. Traffic is usually the heaviest on Wednesday between noon and 6:00 p.m. Thus, planning to leave a little earlier can help you arrive at your destination earlier. This can also reduce overall congestion on roads.
Weather can also be somewhat unpredictable this time of year. Living in Utah is beautiful; however, the mountains that we love so much can sometimes affect weather patterns causing it to snow in certain areas and be sunny in others. Checking the level of congestion or road conditions using certain apps or UDOT’s website can help you know which roads to avoid or approximately how long it will take to arrive at your destination due to weather events. For instance, part of UDOT’s website gives a list of the state roads that are open and closed, as well as how long they are open. You can also check cameras of certain roads to gage delays.
Before embarking on a holiday journey, you will also want to ensure that your car is in ready for a road trip. For example, examine your tires and see if they are ready for inclement weather. Similarly, be sure your car is stocked with an appropriate emergency kit. You never know when you will need any of the items you have stored, so ensuring it has all the necessary items can be very important for a long road trip.
Always drive when you are alert and ready to drive. This suggestion might seem like an obvious proposition; however, distracted driving is a serious problem in Utah. In 2015, for example, the Utah Department of Public Safety reported that 5,850 distracted driver crashes resulted in 3,202 injured persons. When you drive distracted, you are not alert and not ready to drive.
Sometimes, due to busy schedules and other obligations, you might be tempted to drive late and night or at times when you might still be tired. This is not a good idea. You always want to be alert and well rested before undertaking a long road trip. Being alert also includes eliminating distractions like your cell phone. If you are driving with someone, give your phone to them, and they can read your messages or pair your device with the radio, or any other things you might be tempted to do while driving.
Ultimately, you want to make your Thanksgiving travel as safe and stress-free as possible. For Miranda, the little bit of extra time while waiting for her husband could be effectively spent making sure that they are ready for the road. Each year, thousands of people are affected by accidents during the holiday season. Many of these accidents are preventable with just a few simple changes.