The number of Americans traveling for the Thanksgiving holiday will increase over 11% from last year, with an estimated 42.2 million taking a trip of at least 50 miles, according to the AAA auto club. Trips by motor vehicle remain the most popular for holiday travel, with 94 percent, or 39.7 million people reaching their destination by driving, a release from AAA said.
America's Road Team Captains, elite professional truck drivers chosen by the American Trucking Associations, are offering advice on how to navigate through highway traffic and arrive at your destination safely.
- Prepare your vehicle for long distance travel: Check your wipers and fluids. Have your radiator and cooling system serviced. Simple maintenance can prevent many of the problems that strand motorists on the side of the road before you leave your home.
- Plan ahead: Before you get on a highway, know your exit by name and number, and watch the signs as you near the off-ramp. Drivers making unexpected lane changes to exit often cause accidents.
- Use a map or GPS: Surprisingly, few motorists plan their routes, even when driving through unfamiliar areas. Knowing the road is essential for safe driving - it allows you to anticipate lane changes and avoid a panicked search for directions.
- Check your emergency kit: Contents should include: battery powered radio, flashlight, blanket, jumper cables, fire extinguisher, first aid kit, bottled water, non-perishable foods, maps, tire repair kit and flares.
- Be aware of changes in weather.Weather conditions across the U.S. will be changing - especially during early mornings and evenings with the cold. Watch for ice, snow and other weather related obstacles. Also, remember weather can change dramatically from when you start your trip to when you end. Bring a sweater and watch for the signs.
- Thanksgiving is the most traveled holiday and more motorists create additional obstacles - be sure to use extra caution. Leave early so you won't be anxious about arriving late and to accommodate delays. Road conditions may change due to inclement weather or traffic congestion.
- Know your limitations: Don't drive when tired, upset, or physically ill. Remember, when traveling in a car, you are in control and can take a break if needed.
- Buckle up: Safety belts reduce the risk of fatal injury by 45 percent and are a simple way to increase your safety on the road.
"Thanksgiving is about being with your family," said America's Road Team Captain Steve Eckhoff. "But this also means that we'll see a rise in highway traffic, with many motorists driving in unfamiliar areas. Caution and patience is especially important so we all arrive safely to our loved ones."
For more information on ATA's America's Road Team visit www.americasroadteam.com
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