Are you traveling for the Thanksgiving this week? We understand the amount of work that goes into preparing to celebrate with family and friends and know that the addition of traveling can make this a very stressful time of the year for those traveling to spend the holiday with loved ones. Whether renting a car or taking on the travel in your own, these suggestions can help make the drive to your Thanksgiving destination a little bit easier.
New Map Apps:
Google Maps and many other map applications for smart phones have been updated to take into account the heavy week of travel ahead. These apps are designed to assist travelers and make their treks to Thanksgiving destinations a bit easier. If you have access to a smart phone, you can download apps that will re-route your drive if there is heavy traffic expected or can give you minute-by-minute updates on weather in your area. Google maps recently made updates to their application that will help drivers feel prepared to tackle their travel. The app Waze tries to help drivers avoid traffic and roadblocks by asking travelers to report other problems through the app, which then can be used by other drivers. Apps that show traffic patterns are continually getting better and are worth a download this holiday week. They can help you find alternative routes and keep your travel safe, short, and fun.
If you’re traveling out of state and are renting a car there are a few actions you should take before driving on to your destination. Early booking when renting a car is always the best way to ensure that you are getting a reasonable price for your rental. Secondly, check with your insurance to make sure that you are covered in case anything happens while you are driving the rental. Many rental companies will suggest getting insurance so it is wise to check with your insurance policy first so that you do not pay for something you may already be covered for. You can purchase supplementary insurance as needed from the rental company if you find that you are not covered through your own insurance. It is important to have a good collision-and-damage waiver (CDW) insurance before moving forward with your rental choice.
It is also extremely important to check for any possible damage to your rental car before you drive it off the rental company property. Examine the doors, windows, paint, and bumpers to be sure that there are no signs of previous damage. If you do find any dings, scrapes, or dents, take a picture with your smart phone or camera. Talk to your rental agent about the damage so it may be documented before you drive the vehicle. Many rental companies will be understanding of prior damage, but if you run into trouble, it is best to simply request a new car.
Hitting the Road:
AAA is expected more than 46.3 million people to hit the road this Thanksgiving holiday, the most in nearly 7 years. There are a few simple staples of good driving practices that must be implemented this week in order to keep you and the occupants in your car safe. With a higher volume of vehicles on the road this week, the chances of an accident occurring are greatly increased. Make sure that every passenger in the car has his or her seatbelt properly secured for the duration of your journey. Ensuring that seatbelts are being worn correctly is the easiest way to prevent tragic injuries that are results of unpreventable car accidents.
If you are traveling long distances and will be driving for multiple hours, make it a priority to get some good rest before you depart. Resting and leaving at a suitable hour when you know you are capable of driving carefully is the safest way to get you to your destination. It is also important to schedule breaks in your driving so that you can give your mind and body a well-deserved rest. Taking breaks helps to maintain alertness and also enhances focus during long drives.
With the large number of vehicles expected on the roads this week, let your co-pilot handle common distractions in the car such as texting, incoming phone calls, and the usage of the GPS. The roads will be crowded and it is important to be solely focused on driving. These distractions are common precursors to accidents during daily travel, but with the heavy traffic expected, they can easily be more dangerous than you would generally anticipate.
This week you should expect heavy traffic and crowded roads, but don’t let that deter you from enjoying this very special holiday. If you are careful about how you travel and are aware of the dangers on the road this week, you can feel prepared to take on the drive to your destination. Keep everyone in your vehicle safe by being a responsible and knowledgeable driver! From all of us at CARCHEX, Happy Thanksgiving!