Every year, millions of Americans take to the road over the Thanksgiving holiday weekend. It doesn't matter if you're traveling to the other side of town or the other side of the country, your safety and well-being are top priority.

With so many vehicles on the road, driving safely over the Thanksgiving holiday is easier said than done. Fortunately, a bit of planning and knowledge can go a long way in keeping you and your family safe.

  • Prepare your vehicle: A lack of maintenance can result in an accident or breakdown. Prepare your vehicle by testing your battery, changing fluids, checking tire pressure and inspecting tire tread depth. If you don't know how to do these things, schedule an appointment with your local mechanic.
  • Get some rest: Make sure you get enough sleep before you get behind the wheel. This is particularly important if you're embarking on a long road trip. Drowsy driving is responsible for many accidents, injuries and deaths every year.
  • Travel during off-peak days and hours: For example, you can expect the Wednesday before Thanksgiving to be one of the busiest times on the road. If possible, avoid this travel day. Not only does it enhance your safety, but it will also help you reach your destination in a timelier manner.
  • Plan your route: There's probably more than one way to reach your destination. Plan your route in advance with an eye toward your safety, avoiding traffic and saving time.
  • Share the road: Even if you're traveling on an off-peak day during an off-peak hour, you're sure to find yourself driving in close proximity to all types of vehicles. Sharing the road means taking care when merging, using turn signals when changing lanes, leaving a greater following distance and generally being courteous to other drivers.

Even if you follow these Thanksgiving driving safety tips, you're likely to find that other drivers aren't taking the same level of caution.

While an accident will hinder your Thanksgiving plans, it could happen to you. If it does, move to safety, check yourself and passengers for injuries and call 911.

After you receive treatment, you can decide if you're in position to continue your journey. This is also the right time to contact your insurance company, collect information pertaining to the crash and learn more about your legal rights for seeking compensation from the negligent party.

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