Heading out on the road this Thanksgiving to celebrate with family or friends?

Heading out on the road this Thanksgiving to celebrate with family or friends? You aren’t the only one. Consider this your top tips on everything from the best time to leave to avoid the biggest rush, to the safest spot to stash that stuffing so it doesn’t land in your lap if you stop short.

The long Thanksgiving weekend is among the most crowded time for folks to be driving.

It is one of the busiest travel weeks of the year, based solely on the fact that more people are on the road, in turn making it a more dangerous time to drive. People should make an effort to look out for the three deadly “D”’s of driving: drowsy, distracted, or drunk.  Unlike other holidays, like Memorial Day, New Year’s Day and the Fourth of July, when fatalities are more likely caused by drivers being alcohol impaired, Thanksgiving Day crashes and fatalities have more to do with the high number of cars on the road and longer distances driven.

It is best to plan to be on the road in the mornings. The higher risk times are in the evenings because people are drowsy (hello, tryptophan!)  Also, as the day progresses, the traffic volume will as well; and with that, comes increased stress levels.  The Wednesday before Thanksgiving, particularly from noon through the evening, is one such high-risk time due to people heading out on their trip along with people coming and going from work. The returning leg of the trip, the Sunday after Thanksgiving is also one of the biggest high-risk days, as people are tired and eager to return home to prepare for work and school the next day.

We all know it’s not safe to drink and drive. But stuffing yourself with food and getting back in the car isn’t a great idea either, especially when turkey’s involved. The Thanksgiving bird is known for packing high levels of tryptophan, an amino acid that brings on sleepiness. And the side dishes that usually accompany the main course, like stuffing and pie, aren’t doing you any favors either. These carb-heavy (albeit delicious) dishes produce sleep-promoting melatonin and can add to your drowsiness.

Whether you’re traveling alone or with others, your car will likely be crammed with overnight bags and, as a good guest, gifts, plus your homemade casserole and a bottle of wine.

Besides cramping your passengers, all of those extras can become dangerous projectiles in the event of an accident. In the event of hard braking, they could pose a serious threat to your clothes. (That casserole won’t look cute on your new fall coat, and gravy won’t be fun to get out of those floor mats either.)  Anytime there’s a loose object in your vehicle, it presents a danger to the vehicle occupants. So whatever you’re transporting, whether it be people, a pet or boxes, food, they should be secured.  The safest spot is always in the trunk (for the goodies, not the people and pets of course). 

Before you hit the road for any trip, you should prepare your vehicle for the journey. Take your car in for an overall inspection to make sure everything is in good working condition. Have your oil changed, top off all your fluids, and rotate your tires so you’re road-ready. You may even want to consider giving your car a thorough vacuuming since you’ll likely be spending many hours in it during your trip. With a clean, newly inspected vehicle, you can rest easy knowing you’ll be driving in safety and style.

Rolf’s Import Auto Service is proud to provide high quality service to keep automobiles safe on the roads we share.  We want to wish everyone taking to the road this Fall a happy and healthy (and safe!) start to the holiday season.

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