The holiday travel season kicks off this month with one of the busiest travel weekends of
the year. Many Oklahomans will hit the road for Thanksgiving. Because of the number of
people expected on the roadways, experts say more deadly car accidents are likely to
But there are a few simple things you can do before and during your trip to protect you
and your family. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA)
recommends the following:
- Plan your travel and route by checking the weather and road conditions. Allow
plenty of time to arrive safely to your Thanksgiving destination.
- • Pack your car with items that can be useful in an emergency including: ice
scraper, jumper cables, flashlight, flares, blankets, cell phone chargers and extra
water and non-perishable food.
CHECK YOUR VEHICLE AND TIRES
- Inspect your tires to avoid a blowout and ensure proper grip in bad weather. Make
sure each tire is filled to the manufacturer’s recommended inflation pressure.
Don’t forget to check your spare tire too.
- Check to see if your car has been recalled. You can enter your Vehicle
Identification Number (VIN) into NHTSA’s free online search tool to find out. If
there’s been a recall, call the manufacturer. Ask for solutions while waiting for
the free fix.
- Keep up with routine maintenance. Before you leave for your Thanksgiving trip,
have the entire vehicle checked thoroughly.
BUCKLE UP, DRIVE SOBER AND PAY ATTENTION
- Always wear your seat belt. If you’re traveling with children, the best way to
protect them in the car is to put them in the right child safety seat.
- Never drive drunk. Every 45 minutes someone dies in the U.S. from an alcoholimpaired-driving crash. If there’s alcohol at your Thanksgiving gathering, make
sure there’s a designated driver.
- Don’t drive distracted. According to NHTSA data from 2012, 10 percent of
deadly crashes and 18 percent of injury crashes were because of a distraction. The
new texting-and-driving law went into effect in Oklahoma this month. You can be
pulled over and fined if you are caught.
Before you hit the road, it’s also a good idea to touch base with your insurance agent to
go over your auto insurance policy. Of course you’re required to carry liability coverage,
but you’ll also want protection from financial ruin. Make sure you have collision
coverage, which pays for damage your car sustains in an accident you cause, and
comprehensive, which reimburses you for loss due to theft or damage from something
other than a collision, such as fire, falling trees and contact with deer or other animals. I
also recommend uninsured motorist coverage which pays for injuries from a crash with
an uninsured motorist.
Finally, Oklahoma’s weather can be unpredictable. If road conditions are hazardous on
the day you’d planned to leave, just avoid driving. Wait until roads and weather
conditions improve before risking your safety.
With a little planning, you and your family can enjoy Thanksgiving safely and avoid any
dangerous situations this season.