Turkey Day Travel Tips: How to Prepare for a Road Trip During the Holidays
The holiday season is quickly approaching, and for many families in Louisiana, Thanksgiving is the perfect time to gather and celebrate. Whether you’re heading across town or taking a longer road trip to visit loved ones, safety should always be a top priority. At Joubert Law Firm, we care about your well-being, not only as personal injury attorneys but as members of the community. In this article, we’ll provide you with some valuable safety tips to ensure a smooth and secure family travel experience.
Car Safety: First and foremost, ensure your vehicle is in excellent condition before hitting the road:
- Pre-Trip Inspection: Check tire pressure, brakes, lights, and fluids. If anything needs attention, address it before leaving. If you are traveling through areas with snow, it is important to have the correct snow tires on your vehicle. Proper vehicle maintenance reduces the risk of breakdowns and accidents.
- Seat Belts: Make sure everyone in the car is buckled up, no exceptions. R.S. 32:295.1 states that each occupant of a passenger car, van, sports utility vehicle, or truck having a gross weight of 26,000 pounds or less is required to have a safety belt properly fastened about his or her body at all times that the vehicle is in forward motion. Ensure that child safety seats are properly installed and used according to your child’s age and size. Under the same law, children under the age of 13 should ride in the back seat.
Weather Safety: Louisiana’s weather can be unpredictable, so it’s crucial to stay informed:
- Weather Updates: We all know that Louisiana weather can be unpredictable and unruly, so make sure you keep an eye on the forecast and road conditions through your local news channel prior to travel. You can find a list of the Louisiana local news channels here. If possible, during your journey have your passenger frequently check weather apps or have a NOAA weather radio in the vehicle to stay updated on any severe weather that may affect your travel plans.
- Emergency Kit: Pack an emergency kit with essentials like flashlights, blankets, first-aid supplies, and non-perishable food in case you get stranded due to unexpected weather-related delays. This article by the Cleveland Clinic includes advice on what first-aid items to keep in your emergency kit, as well as their uses.
Road Conditions: Navigating the roads during Thanksgiving travel can be challenging, so consider these tips:
- Plan Ahead: Map out your route in advance, and have a GPS or navigation app to avoid traffic and detours. Also, share your itinerary with a friend or family member so they know your travel plans. The Louisiana State Police Department is reminding Louisiana drivers about the state’s “Move Over” law ahead of the busy travel season. The law requires drivers to switch lanes or slow down for stopped law enforcement, emergency workers, tow trucks, and more. See this article by WAFB for more information.
- Drive Defensively: Be alert, avoid distractions, and maintain a safe following distance from the vehicle in front of you. Holiday travel often means heavy traffic and road congestion, so staying attentive is crucial. Distracted driving is a major cause of wrecks during the holidays, so make sure you are off your phone and keeping your eyes on the road. Beware of cars that are swerving due to impaired driving and slow down before crossing intersections.
- Rest Stops: Take breaks every few hours to combat fatigue and stretch your legs. Tired driving can be as dangerous as drunk driving, so be sure to get adequate rest before your journey and during long trips. If you are feeling tired and can have someone switch with you, do so.
Child Safety: If you’re traveling with children, their safety is paramount:
- Child Car Seats: Ensure your child is in an age-appropriate car seat, and that it’s correctly installed. Refer to the manufacturer’s guidelines and your vehicle’s manual to sure the seat is secure. See here for more information from the Louisiana State Police Department about car seat requirements and upcoming safety checkup events.
- Entertainment: Pack snacks, games, and entertainment to keep kids occupied and minimize distractions for the driver. A distracted driver is more likely to be involved in an accident. Make frequent stops for restroom breaks and allow your kids to stretch their legs and move around to reduce restlessness and discomfort during long drives.
This Thanksgiving, as you embark on your journey to spend time with family and friends, remember that safety should always be priority. Traveling during the holidays increases your chances of getting into an accident, but if you follow the above steps you can reduce your families’ risks and make your experience as stress-free as possible.
At Joubert Law Firm, we care about your well-being, and we’re here to help not only with personal injury claims but also with any wind and hurricane-related legal matters. Wishing you a safe and joyful Thanksgiving holiday, filled with love, laughter, and the warmth of family.