Thanksgiving is right around the corner. This joyful day of gathering for food and gratitude marks the beginning of the holiday season, with Black Friday and holiday shopping kicking into high gear. But did you know that the roads can be equally crazy?
Unfortunately, Black Friday also marks the beginning of a deadly time for drivers, as people crowd the roads to complete their holiday errands and travel through November and December. Here's how to increase your odds of rising in the New Year in one piece.
Thanksgiving Weekend Can Be Deadly
The day before Thanksgiving is generally the biggest travel day of the year, and there's no sign that people are staying home. Travel has continued to increase since the lifting of pandemic lockdowns, and this year 80% of people say they'll drive to get where they're going. The National Safety Council estimated 515 Thanksgiving traffic deaths in 2021.
The sheer number of cars on the road increases the risk of accidents, but traffic isn't the whole story. Drunk driving, night driving, and poor weather conditions can all make the roads more dangerous as people head home from their feasts. On Black Friday, road rage can also play a role, as drivers compete for parking spaces and crowd the roads near shopping centers.
Stay Safe and Alert This Holiday Weekend
You can't control the weather and other drivers, but you can still do your part to make sure you get where you're going safely this Thanksgiving. For starters, brush up on your defensive driving skills to minimize the likelihood of accidents. You'll want to make sure you:
Always buckle up
Maintain a safe following distance
Minimize distractions, especially cell phones
Obey the speed limit
Give yourself extra travel time
Stay calm in heavy traffic
If you've been drinking or simply feel sleepy after a heavy turkey dinner, don't get behind the wheel. You can always call a cab or ride-share service instead.
Great Holiday Gifts for Drivers
Black Friday can bring traffic headaches, but it also offers great deals on holiday gifts. This year, consider giving the gift of safety. If you drive an older model vehicle, you can retrofit it with new technology to enhance safety. For example, shop for an aftermarket backup cam and dashboard monitor to make parking easier and increase visibility in reverse.
Likewise, aftermarket parking sensors can alert drivers to obstacles and prevent fender benders. These can be applied to both front and rear bumpers of cars that don't have this technology built in.
If a high-tech solution isn't appealing, a blind spot mirror makes a great stocking stuffer! These small, convex mirrors attach to your existing side view mirror to offer a wider view. They're an inexpensive way to increase visibility and make changing lanes easier.
A safety kit also makes a useful — and affordable! — gift. You can buy one ready-made, or put together your own emergency kit with items like:
First aid supplies
Refillable gas can
The Best Safety Gift to Buy This Black Friday
Looking for a gift idea for a new driver in your life? Aceable's online driver's ed courses are the ideal way to support teens and young drivers as they begin their journey toward licensure.