Holiday Traffic

How to Stay Safe this Holiday Season

The holidays are a time for love, joy, family, and friends. Unfortunately, they can also be a time of danger—especially if you spend any time on the road. When most people think of dangerous holidays, their minds turn to New Year’s Eve, when we stay up late and toast one another while singing “Auld Lang Syne.” In reality, however, the most dangerous holiday is Thanksgiving.

In 2014, AAA projected that 46.3 million Americans would take the highways and drive at least 50 miles in order to celebrate Thanksgiving with family and friends. Most of these people head out on Wednesday evening, making it one of the busiest travel days of the year.

At Mulligan Epstein, we regularly work with people who have been in unfortunate accidents during this busy holiday season. We want everyone to celebrate safely, which is why we’ve put together the following tips for a safe and healthy holiday season.

1. Plan Ahead

Plan your route in advance and check traffic reports and weather conditions before you leave. Don’t rely solely on GPS, especially if you’re traveling through rural areas, and bring an old-fashioned paper map as a backup. You should also get your vehicle checked out before you leave and make sure everything is in good working condition.

2. Follow the Rules

Pay attention to changes in speed limits, traffic stops, and winding roads. Driving in an unfamiliar area means you don’t always know the rules, so it’s important to take your cues from the other drives and road signs. Drive defensively and keep your cool, especially if you encounter an aggressive driver. Remember, everyone is fighting their own battles, and the holidays are a time for compassion and kindness.

3. Take Care of Yourself

Before a long drive, check your tire pressure and fill up your gas tank. Your body should be treated just as well! Make sure you get a good night’s sleep before you head out, drink plenty of water, and pack some healthy snacks. If you begin to feel tired, don’t push through! Pull over and take a nap in a rest area. This is the best way to keep yourself, not to mention your fellow travelers, safe.

4. Be Prepared

Car trouble, inclement weather, getting lost, fender benders—a lot can happen when you’re on the road and away from home. Be prepared by keeping a blanket, a change of clothes, flashlights, batteries, and some cash in the truck of your car. You never know when you might need them!

5. Enjoy the Journey!

Yes, the holiday season can be stressful. Yes, driving for hours isn’t the most fun you’ll have on your trip. But the journey is just as important as the destination, and keeping a good attitude, being grateful for what you have, and looking forward to a fun and safe holiday with people you love makes it all worth it.

We hope you and yours have a great holiday and a safe and happy journey, no matter where you’re headed. From our family to yours: Happy Thanksgiving!