Thanksgiving Travel Safety Information

With Thanksgiving week being one of the busiest travel weeks of the year, we would like to share some safe travel tips produced by the New York State Thruway Authority. With so many of our readers traveling on the road this week, we hope these tips will help keep your travels safe. In addition to the Thruway Authority's tips, we have added a few tips of our own, based on our years of experience handling automobile accident cases.

Vehicle Condition:

Make sure your car is in good condition. With winter weather likely; having good windshield wipers and plenty of windshield washer fluid in the reservoir will be important. Check to make sure your tires are properly inflated, and that tire treads are in good condition. Make sure seatbelts are in good condition and wear the seatbelts.

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Speed and Distance:

Obey the posted speed limits and drive more slowly in bad conditions. In wet weather, tires lose their traction and it takes longer to stop a vehicle. If it there is rain, fog, sleet, snow, construction or heavy traffic, reduce your speed and maintain a safe distance from the vehicle in front of you. To avoid tailgating, follow the "three-second rule." When the vehicle in front of you passes a stationary object, it should take you at least three seconds to pass the same object. In poor visibility conditions, allow more time.

Rest:

Drowsy driving is very dangerous. A recent AAA study showed that drowsy driving is a contributing factor in nearly 17 percent of all fatal accidents. To avoid drowsy driving, get plenty of rest the night before traveling. It is a good idea to take frequent breaks on long trips. Travel plazas and rest areas throughout New York are good places to get out and stretch your legs. It is also a good idea to have a light snack on your breaks. A light snack will help keep your blood sugar up and this helps to avoid fatigue. If you feel yourself nodding off or falling asleep, find a safe place to pull over and get some rest.

Keep Right:

If vehicles are accumulating behind you in the left lane, pull over to the right lane to allow faster traffic to pass. When changing lanes, it is always important to use your turn signals.

Share the Road With Trucks:

Truck accidents can be devastating. Trucks can weigh up to 80,000 pounds and they often need more than 100 yards to stop. When following trucks, it is important to maintain a safe distance. When passing a truck, do not move back into the right lane until you can see both of its headlights in your rearview mirror. It is also important to be aware that truck drivers have blind spots in which they cannot see other vehicles. Truck drivers have a blind spot of up to 20 feet in front of the tractor, along side of the trailer, and up to 200 feet behind the trailer. It is important to avoid driving in these blind spots. As a general rule, if you cannot see the truck driver or the truck's mirrors, then the truck driver cannot see you.

Thanksgiving is one of the busiest travel weeks of the year. The highways will be busy and winter weather may make driving difficult. We hope these travel trips will help keep you safe and accident-free on your Thanksgiving journey this year.

Source: New York State Thruway Authority: Safety Tips & Emergency Information

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