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Be prepared for the hazards of a road trip this Thanksgiving

Safety authorities in Pennsylvania and other states are spreading the word about the hazards of traveling during the coming Thanksgiving weekend. The American Automobile Association expects that over 51 million people will take to the nation's roads for trips exceeding 50 miles. If you and your family plan to share the busy highways with the millions of others, you will also benefit from the tips and advice that aim to underscore the need for all to share the roadways safely.

Traffic congestion will be a significant challenge, and there might be many impatient drivers whose rush to get to their destinations will put the lives of others at risk. Be prepared to share the highways with many big rigs and other commercial vehicles that present their own unique dangers. You may also have to deal with reduced visibility due to blowing snow, high wind and other weather-related hazards.

Safe driving tips

A thorough inspection of your vehicle and a study of the weather forecast before you embark on your trip are crucial. Then, prepared with the following safety tips, you might have a pleasant journey that will bring you to your destination unharmed:

  • Pre-trip inspection: Thanksgiving is the worst time to have a breakdown. Check the fluid levels, the wipers, radiator, cooling system and tires as you prepare for your trip.
  • Remove accumulated snow: Clear ice from your vehicle's windows to ensure maximum visibility and remove packed snow from the roof and elsewhere. Accumulated snow can cause blind spots, and it could also create hazards for anyone traveling behind you.
  • Prepare yourself: Enough sleep before heading out will prevent drowsy driving, and proper hydration will keep you alert.
  • Leave early: Give yourself enough time to reach your destination. It can avoid anxiety if traffic congestion, road conditions or inclement weather cause delays.
  • Buckle up: A seat belt might save your life in the event of an accident.
  • Slow down: Match the speed of other vehicles. Safety authorities say traveling faster than others in heavy traffic conditions increases the chances of collisions.
  • Following distance: Leave extra space between you and the vehicle in front of you in congested traffic.
  • Distractions: Accidents really happen in the blink of an eye, and taking your eyes off the road for only two seconds could end your trip -- or even your life -- right there.
  • Drunk driving: Consume no alcohol before or during your driving. Being sober will also help you to recognize and avoid other impaired drivers.
  • Big rig blind spots: Familiarize yourself with the no-zones of large trucks and avoid driving where you cannot see the trucker in his or her side mirror. Remember to pass on the truck's left where the blind spot is smaller.
  • Pass with care: When you pass a commercial vehicle, remember to leave ample space before re-entering your travel lane. Large trucks need more than a football field's length to come to a halt.

What if…

Unfortunately, you will always have to consider the what-ifs because, despite all your precautions, another less-alert or less-considerate driver might cause an accident that sends you and your loved ones to the hospital. If that happens, it will ruin not only your Thanksgiving weekend but also your financial stability. Fortunately, an experienced Pennsylvania attorney can provide the necessary support and guidance throughout the navigation of a personal injury lawsuit in pursuit of financial and emotional damage recovery.

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