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When most people think about Thanksgiving, they imagine the mainstays: Indulging in rich holiday foods with their families, meeting up with out-of-town friends, and generally reveling in good company and fall festivities.
And although we associate Thanksgiving with many of the same comforts, we also know it’s an extremely dangerous time of year for travel. As top car accident lawyers in Orange County, we see the aftermath each year: Californians who’ve suffered life-altering injuries and accidents simply because they traveled to visit family.
At Case Barnett Law, we want you to have the information you need to stay safe this holiday season. In this article, we’ll share our ten tips for avoiding Thanksgiving traffic accidents in California, including why you should never try to navigate a car accident alone.
Struggling to recoup your losses after a serious car accident? Don’t worry—we’re here to help. Call our law office at (949) 409-0055 to speak with a compassionate attorney today.
1. Make time for pre-trip car maintenance.
We get it—trying to fit car maintenance into an already busy schedule is easier said than done. However, ensuring the essentials function properly can save you a major headache (and possibly even a collision). Pre-trip car maintenance is the best way to ensure something as minor as dried-out windshield wipers or a broken brake light doesn’t ruin your holiday.
2. Check the traffic forecast.
Traffic forecasts aren’t always perfect, but neither is the weather report. The California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) offers several travel resources to help you stay informed about traffic conditions, including Caltrans Mobile QuickMap. This app (and others like it) can provide critical travel information about road conditions and closures, weather advisories, traffic jams, rest areas near you, and more.
3. Drive with a clear head.
In addition to being one of the most dangerous times of the year to travel, Thanksgiving is one of the drunkest holidays in the U.S. The night before Thanksgiving has become known as “Blackout Wednesday” and is considered by many as the biggest drinking day of the year. Naturally, excessive drinking and long drives don’t pair well. Even after you’ve sobered up, research suggests that driving with a hangover can significantly impair your ability to operate a car safely.
4. Plan your route ahead of time.
We’ve all experienced the frustration of a slow-loading map that seems one step behind real-time. Trying to navigate from your phone while driving doesn’t just test your patience—it puts you and everyone around you at risk. Do yourself and your fellow travelers a favor by at least having a cursory understanding of your route before hitting the road. Then, even if your phone misbehaves, you’ll be less likely to make desperate lane changes and last-second merges.
5. Budget in some wiggle room.
Regarding Thanksgiving traffic, driving with a sense of urgency is a recipe for disaster. If you’re traveling out of town for the holiday, you need to accept that it will take longer than usual and plan accordingly. That way, you can avoid a situation where you’re speeding and driving recklessly to avoid missing dinner.
5. Wake up and pay attention!
Research suggests that when drivers are using their cellphones, they miss up to 50% of the information in their driving environment. Cellphones are just one of the many ways people practice distracted driving; any activity, mental state, or object that takes a driver’s attention away from the road is potentially dangerous. Drowsy driving is a hazardous form of distracted driving because, in addition to divided attention, the driver typically has slower reaction times.
6. Remember: The Thanksgiving holiday isn’t just one day.
If you think Thanksgiving traffic will only be bad on Thursday, you’re in for a rough surprise. In many cities across the U.S., rush hour traffic is worse on the Tuesday and Wednesday leading up to Thanksgiving than on the actual holiday. Even when Turkey Day is over, travelers still aren’t out of the woods: Black Friday and weekend return travel makes for chaotic and unpredictable road conditions that demand preparation.
7. Don’t try to navigate a car accident alone.
Even when you do everything right, you can still be in a car accident. There’s no preparation for other people, and for many responsible drivers, negligent drivers are the biggest threat on the road this Thanksgiving.
Although you can’t prevent some accidents from occurring, you can choose how to navigate their aftermath. In most serious car accidents, it benefits injury victims to speak with an experienced car accident attorney for guidance. A trusted legal professional can help investigate the case, pinpoint the at-fault party, calculate a settlement demand, and fight for their client’s compensation.
If you’re involved in a serious car accident this Thanksgiving holiday, don’t make the mistake of failing to seek legal counsel. The attorneys at Case Barnett Law offer free, no-obligation consultations and accept payments on a contingency fee basis. You can receive top-tier legal advice simply by scheduling a case evaluation.
Ready to get started? Contact Case Barnett Law online or give us a call at (949) 409-0055 to speak with a compassionate legal representative today.