Turkey, stuffing, pumpkin pie, family, and friends are the first things that come to mind when it’s Thanksgiving time. If you’re hosting the big dinner, you’ve probably started getting your plan ready. But if you’re like the rest of us, you’ll have to travel on Thanksgiving. Here’s a short list of Thanksgiving travel tips to help keep you safe and sane on one of the busiest travel holidays of the year.
Know where you’re going
Sounds simple enough, but if you have a smart phone, you might have started relying on the on-board GPS to get you where you need to go. Before you head out the door, make sure to either download the maps ahead of time or, better yet, print out the directions in case there is no Internet access.
Get your car ready ahead of time
Waiting until Wednesday to make sure your car is ready might mean a later start time that you had originally planned. Use the weekend before to check your Thanksgiving travel checklist finished.
- Get the oil changed – Of course if you just recently got your oil changed, you don’t have to worry, but it’s likely that you’re nearing the mileage indicated for an oil change. Depending on how far you’re driving, you might actually go past your recommended service interval. Also, most places check out other parts of your car to make sure everything is working properly.
- Check the windshield wipers – If you live in Sacramento, California or another dry area like we do, then you might not have had to use your wipers in awhile. The last thing you want is to get stuck in traffic, in the rain with wipers that aren’t working properly.
- Check the air pressure on the tires – A study that looked at accident data from 2005 to 2007 found that low tire pressure was a factor in many crashes.
- Check your spare tire – If you do end up with a flat tire, you’re going to want to make sure that your spare tire is in proper condition, too.
Traveling to Cold Areas
If you’re driving to an area that might be getting snow, you’ll want to take some extra steps to make sure your car is ready for the cold weather.
- Fill your windshield washer reservoir – Depending on the type and amount of snow, you might go through more than half a gallon of fluid. If the area is extra cold, you might want to consider adding in some concentrate that reduces the freezing temperature.
- Keep your gas tank full – If the snow really comes down and you get stuck or stranded, you’ll be thankful that you have a full tank to provide some much needed heat. If you are stopped and you have an older car, make sure to crack the window so you don’t get carbon monoxide poisoning. Also, get out of the car periodically to remove snow from the tailpipe area.
- Be prepared with an up-to-date supply kit – If you do get stuck, you’ll want to make sure you have basic supplies, like water, snacks, snow scraper, blanket, boots and gloves.
- Go slow – it goes without saying that driving in snow can be tricky. No matter how much of a hurry you are in, it’s not more important than your life.
Have proper auto insurance
Take a moment to review your car insurance policy before you leave to ensure you know what your car insurance policy will cover while you’re on your Thanksgiving road trip.
- Some policies do not cover you if you travel out-of-state.
- Make sure your liability limits are at high enough amounts to cover all the passengers in your car.
- Check to see if other drivers are covered, especially if you’re on a long road trip and might need the reprieve from another driver.
- Check to see if there is medical coverage to help with emergency evacuation, or to return your dependents to your home if you are to be hospitalized.