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Thanksgiving on the Go: Essential Holiday Travel Safety Tips

By Randy Clayton on Nov 14, 2023
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Thanksgiving Travel safety tips

As we approach the bustling holiday season, our focus shifts to implementing holiday travel safety tips, especially with travel numbers seeing a notable increase compared to last year. 

AAA estimates 55.4 million Americans will travel 50 or more miles to their destinations this year between Wednesday and Sunday, up 2.3% from 2022. This projection marks the third-highest Thanksgiving forecast since AAA began tracking holiday travel in 2000.

For those taking to the skies, expect a much busier airport experience than last year, with an estimated 4.7 million flying to their Thanksgiving destinations, up 6.6% over 2022.

This rise in travelers highlights the importance of being well-prepared, whether you're hitting the road or taking to the skies. In this post, we'll provide the best and worst times to embark on your journey (if you're driving), offering practical advice to navigate the busy roads safely and efficiently.

Additionally, for those planning to fly, we'll cover essential air travel safety considerations, ensuring your holiday travel is not only joyful but also secure.

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More Holiday Travel Despite Inflation

Despite the challenges posed by rising inflation, an intriguing trend has emerged: more individuals are choosing to travel this holiday season. This uptick in travel, even amidst economic pressures, underscores a collective yearning for connection and normalcy after unprecedented times.

Here's what the data found:

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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 26. INRIX uses big data from connected devices and vehicles and transforms it into mobility insights. 

Add to your list of Thanksgiving holiday travel tips these best and worst times to hit the road:

Wednesday, November 22

INRIX predicts this to be the busiest day on the roads during the Thanksgiving travel period. Average travel times are expected to be as high as 80% over normal in some metropolitan areas. 

    • Best travel time: Before 11 a.m.
    • Worst travel time: 2-6 p.m. 

Thursday, November 23

    • Best travel time: Before 11 a.m. or after 5 p.m.
    • Worst travel time: 11 a.m. - 3 p.m.

Friday, November 24

    • Best travel time: Before 11 a.m. or after  7 p.m.
    • Worst travel time: 11 a.m. - 8 p.m.

Saturday, November 25

    • Best travel time: Before noon
    • Worst travel time: 3 - 5 p.m.

Sunday, November 26

    • Best travel time: Before noon
    • Worst travel time: 3 - 5 p.m.

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Holiday Travel Safety Tips: On the Road

In addition to planning your departure time to avoid the rush, consider these road trip holiday travel safety tips:

1. Be sure your vehicle is road trip ready

Inspect your tires, belts and battery in advance. Check and top off your fluids, replace filters and ensure headlights and turn signals are working properly. And, one tip many travelers overlook: Bring a set of spare keys.

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 a Plan B in place. If your hope is to drive straight through to your destination, where will you stay if something changes – for instance, if you get too tired, don’t feel well or the roads are too risky to drive on.  

3. Pack the essentials

When packing for your trip, remember that holiday safety travel tips aren’t just about how you drive, but also what you bring along. Essential items like jumper cables, flares, blankets, gloves, and a few extra tools, including something to cut with, are vital.

Don’t forget a phone charger, hand sanitizer, and sanitizing wipes, which are now more important than ever. While it may be tempting to limit fluid intake to reduce bathroom breaks, carrying water is crucial.

It’s a well-known fact that flying leads to dehydration, but many don’t realize that road trips do too. Dehydration while on the road can cause fatigue, dry eyes, light-headedness, headaches, dizziness, lack of focus, and blurry vision.

These symptoms are particularly dangerous during long drives, common during holiday travel. Ensuring you stay hydrated is a key component of holiday safety travel tips, helping you remain alert and focused as you drive to celebrate the holiday.

4. Take 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.

5. Avoid distractions

We all know the temptation to text or make a phone call while driving. Technology poses a big distraction while driving. It’s never a good idea to scroll or text while driving, though, and in some cases, using technology while driving is against the law.

More than half of U.S. states have laws restricting hand-held cell phone use while driving. Many others prohibit texting while driving, and 36 states have banned all cell phone use by newer drivers.

The best Thanksgiving travel tip may be to limit distractions and put your phone away while driving. Check out this list of cell phone use restrictions across the U.S. before you hit the road.

Overall, driving to your Thanksgiving destination provides more control and flexibility. To make your time on the road as comfortable and enjoyable as possible, check out this list of Thanksgiving road trip essentials featured on USA Today.

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Air Travel Considerations

Approximately 300,000 more travelers will fly 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 holiday travel safety tip: If you avoid checking bags, you’ll have greater flight flexibility (plus you’ll have your clothing and toiletries on hand). 

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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 hope these holiday travel safety tips come in handy and wish you and your loved ones a very happy and safe Thanksgiving.

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Written by Randy Clayton

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