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Thanksgiving Travel Safety Tips: Pack Your Patience

By Randy Clayton on Nov 23, 2022
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Thanksgiving Travel

If you are traveling to celebrate Thanksgiving with family and friends this year, be patient. You definitely will not be alone. AAA estimates 54.6 million Americans will travel 50 or more miles to their destinations this year between Wednesday and Sunday, up 1.5% from 2021 and just shy (98%) of pre-pandemic levels. For those of you taking to the skies, expect a much busier airport experience than in prior years (even pre-pandemic holidays). Also according to AAA, air travel is up a whopping 8% this year compared to 2021. 

Embracing the Opportunity to Travel Freely

Embracing a world without the travel restrictions (and fear) seen in previous years, Americans are welcoming the opportunity to just get out and visit loved ones. What’s more, the post-COVID changes seen in the workplace provide the opportunity for many Americans to work remotely and allow for the ability to stretch out the holiday vacation a bit longer. Hopefully, that will buffer the travel rush following Thanksgiving by filtering traffic into Tuesday of next week.

RELATED: 'Tis the Season for Safe Holiday Lighting Tips >>

Best and Worst Times to Travel on the Road This Thanksgiving

If you must drive in the middle of the holiday rush and you don’t do well in a lot of traffic, or simply want a more peaceful experience, INRIX has provided the best and worst times to be out on the road between now and November 27. INRIX uses big data from connected devices and vehicles and transforms it into mobility insights. Here are the best and worst times to hit the road this week:

Wednesday, November 23

    • Best Travel Time: Before 8 a.m. or after 8 p.m.
    • Worst Travel Time: 11 a.m. - 8 p.m.

Thursday, November 24

    • Best Travel Time: Before 11 a.m. or after 6 p.m.
    • Worst Travel Time: 11 a.m. - 6 p.m.

Friday, November 25

    • Best Travel Time: Before 11 a.m. or after 8 p.m.
    • Worst Travel Time: 11 a.m. - 8 p.m.

Saturday, November 26

    • Best Travel Time: Before 2 p.m. or after 8 p.m.
    • Worst Travel Time: 4 - 8 p.m.

Sunday, November 27

    • Best Travel Time: Before 11 a.m. or after 8 p.m.
    • Worst Travel Time: 4 - 8 p.m.

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Road Trip Travel Safety Tips

In addition to planning your departure time to avoid the rush, consider these tips:

1. Be Sure Your Vehicle is Road Trip Ready

Inspect your tires, belts and battery in advance. Additionally, check and top off your fluids, replace filters and ensure headlights and turn signals are working properly. AAA alone expects to rescue more than 413,000 Americans on the side of the road this Thanksgiving.

2. Do Your Research

Look at the map of the cities you’ll travel through and then check the weather forecast in those cities. If there’s going to be inclement weather, you may want to adjust your travel times to avoid it. 

It’s also a good idea to have Plan B in place. If your hope is to drive straight through to your destination, where will you stay if something changes? For instance, you get too tired, don’t feel well or the roads are too risky to drive on.  

3. Pack the Essentials

Jumper cables, flares, blankets, gloves and a few extra tools, including something to cut with, a phone charger, hand sanitizer and sanitizing wipes are all a must. And while you might not want to load up on the fluids because you’ll encounter more bathroom breaks, water is extremely important. 

It’s mostly common knowledge that flying causes dehydration, but road trips do, too, and the effects can be dangerous. Road trip dehydration can lead to fatigue, dry eyes, light-headedness, headaches, dizziness, lack of focus and blurry vision. None of these is a good thing if you’re driving for hours to celebrate the holiday.

4. Driving Precautions

Staring at the interstate for hours on end can become tiring really fast. To prevent fatigue, trade on and off with a driving partner. If you must tackle the drive alone, be sure to pull off the interstate when you feel fatigued in well-lit areas where there is a lot of traffic. You can also try opening the windows for fresh air. Avoid pulling over on the side of the road or in desolate areas. 

To make your time on the road as comfortable and enjoyable as possible, check out this list of Thanksgiving road trip essentials for a better ride featured on USA Today >>

 spectacular holiday lights

Air Travel Considerations

There will be approximately 330,000 more travelers flying to their destinations this year compared to last year. Airport parking lots will fill up faster, it will take longer to make it through security and there might not be a whole lot of room for carry-on luggage. All of these concerns can usually be addressed simply by planning and arriving early. When it comes to checking luggage, here’s a tip: If you avoid checking bags, you’ll have greater flight flexibility (plus you’ll have your clothing and toiletries on hand).  

RELATED: How to Avoid Legal Liability in Your Company's Stocking >>

Axcet HR Solutions: Your Kansas City Safety Experts Since 1988

At Axcet, our risk management consultants are workers’ compensation and workplace safety experts. When you partner with us, you can be confident your employees and business are protected. In fact, our customized safety programs are designed to keep your business operating at peak levels while making sure your employees go home safely at the end of each workday. Learn more about our workers' compensation and safety services here >>

From all of us at Axcet HR Solutions, we wish you and your loved ones a very happy and safe Thanksgiving.

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Written by Randy Clayton

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