Planning for Your Thanksgiving Road Trip

traffic safety

Some people get annoyed when other people start playing Christmas music before Thanksgiving. To me, they're focusing on the wrong problem. The real problem is that Thanksgiving doesn't really have its own music. Sure, there are a few novelty songs here and there, but compared to Christmas, Thanksgiving kinda gets the short straw. Somewhere, in an alternate universe, there's a family driving down the highway listening to 'Turkeys Roasting On An Open Fire.' Or singing along to 'It's Beginning to Look a Lot Like Stuffing.' Or maybe even 'Rocking Around the Cranberry Sauce.'

Alas, Thanksgiving, for now, will have to maintain its lower position on the holiday music totem pole. But that's OK, it's still a wonderful holiday in its own right. And to make sure that you and your loved ones enjoy it safely, you need to carefully prepare for any Thanksgiving road trips you're planning this year. Here are a few tips to keep you safe on the road this Thanksgiving holiday — no matter what your driving soundtrack happens to be.

Tip #1: Give Your Vehicle a Checkup

Whether you've been working remotely during this most unusual year or commuting every day, you need to make sure your vehicle is ready for a long road trip. Check your oil, of course, and take a look at your perhaps-neglected transmission fluid. 

Are your brakes squeaking or squealing? It's best to get those done before you jump onto a super highway with thousands of other drivers for an extended period. 

You should definitely check your tire pressure, but also make sure your tires are in good shape and have enough tread. If you are traveling through regions where ice and snow may come into play, make sure you have the right tires for it; you don't want to have to make the switch along the way, or worse yet, wind up sliding off the road.

Tip #2: Rise Above Distractions

My wish for you is that your Thanksgiving road trip will be peaceful, serene, even. I envision for you a nice quiet journey, with smooth jazz playing on the radio. 

Now, let's say that's a bit of a rosy outlook and your actual journey is less likely to include the easy whine of a sax, and more likely to feature the high-pitched whine of battling children. If that is the case and you are condemned to such a sentence, then I urge you to remember this: you can rise above it. 

Remain focused on the road at all times. If you're traveling with your spouse or another relative as your passenger, make sure they know it's their duty to manage the madness so you can pay attention to getting where you're going in one piece. Actively communicating your need to focus on driving may seem a bit stiff at times, but it's ultimately for your safety, and that of all your passengers. Even the ones who like to say, "are we there yet?"

Tip #3: Drive Defensively

During the holiday season, people do crazy things. Sleep deprivation from last-minute shopping and red-eye flights, exhaustion from overexposure to relatives, sleepiness from overindulgence at family meals; all of these factors can play a role in creating adverse conditions on the road. 

So, you need to be on the lookout at all times. Watch out for swerving drivers, overloaded vehicles, and really any strange driving behavior. Be especially careful around exits; some people will do crazy things to avoid a detour of five minutes caused by missing an exit. 

A Memorable Road Trip Awaits

It's going to be fine. You might feel a little stressed by the idea of your impending road trip, but by following our tips and keeping safety as your priority, you'll put yourself in a position to not only get where you're going safely, but to even have fun throughout your journey. Who knows? You might even write a few Thanksgiving tunes of your own along the way.