If you’re traveling this Thanksgiving, prepare to share the road with just a few other tens of millions of people also trying to make it to their turkey dinners, according to the AAA. The organization estimates nearly 51 million Americans will take to the roads, skies, rails or waterways this holiday — a 3.3 percent increase in the number of travelers over last year and the highest number since 2005.

Fall holiday travel Thanksgiving shutterstock 497737081 Keep safety a priority during Thanksgiving travels
This Thanksgiving travel period, defined as between Nov. 22 and Nov. 26., almost 90 percent of those traveling will hit the road with cars packed full of family members and turkey fixings.

“Thanksgiving kicks off the start of a busy holiday season, and more thankful Americans will travel to spend time with friends and family this year,” said Bill Sutherland, AAA senior vice president, Travel and Publishing. “A strong economy and labor market are generating
rising incomes and higher consumer confidence, fueling a strong year for the travel industry, which will continue into the holiday season.”

If you plan on being one of those traveling by car, Consumer Reports offers the following advice:

  • Start your trip with a full tank of gas and check fluids.
  • Bring an emergency kit filled with a flashlight, blanket, snacks, water and first-aid kit just in case.
  • Check your vehicle’s load capacity to make sure you are not overpacking it.
  • Be patient. Plan to hit traffic. Check the weather situation before you hit the road.
  • Remove technological distractions.

You may also want to check the age of your tires to prevent an accident. Tread separation and blowouts, often associated with aging tires, are some of the most common causes for single- and multi-vehicle crashes. The age of a tire can be determined by looking at the last four digits of a tire’s identification number, located where it meets the rim.

If the tire was manufactured in or after 2000, when the format was introduced, the first two of those four numbers are the week of the year the tire was made and the last two indicate the year it was manufactured. For instance, a tire made in the 28th week of 2010 would have an identification code ending in 2810. Most tire manufacturers recommend replacing tires every 10 years but instruct buyers to follow automakers’ recommendations if they suggest sooner. Most automakers do usually suggest sooner, recommending replacements every six years.

The National Safety Council estimates 421 people may be killed and another 48,500 may be seriously injured in car crashes during Thanksgiving. It’s important to note about one-third of those accidents will be caused by alcohol impairment.

“While many of us are putting together grocery lists and travel plans for Thanksgiving, we can’t forget that long holiday weekends are particularly deadly on the roads,” said NSC President and CEO Deborah A.P. Hersman. “If you plan to celebrate, make smart decisions and commit to having a driver that is not impaired by alcohol or drugs behind the wheel.”

Use this advice to safely arrive at your destination this Thanking, and remember each of those other 50,999,999 travelers deserves to make it to their turkey dinner, too.

Consumer Reports
National Safety Council

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