Give Thanks for Safe Driving: Here's Some Florida Thanksgiving Travel Tips - Dante Law Firm, P.A.
The best Florida Thanksgiving is spent with family, good food, and friends. A good holiday also means traveling safely. For tips on doing that, read this!
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Give Thanks for Safe Driving: Here’s Some Florida Thanksgiving Travel Tips

Surrounding the table with friends and family, enjoying a delicious meal. Watching the afternoon game while dozing off, stuffed with turkey. Catching up and spending quality time with others, plus the occasional political rant.

It must be Thanksgiving.

Some 2.8-million people took to the roads for the Florida Thanksgiving holiday break in 2018. Unfortunately, not everyone made it there (or home) safe.

The Thanksgiving holiday can be a dangerous time on the roads. Florida, especially, is already notorious for its dangerous highways. Those joining others in travel should heed these tips when on the open road.

Drive Sober and Aware

Many will consume alcohol during the Thanksgiving holiday. Some will get behind-the-wheel and take to the roads after having those drinks.

You need to stay safe on both ends:

  • Drive sober
  • Be aware

Avoid alcohol or have a designated driver if you want to be 100% safe. Else, catch a ride or spend an extra night so you’re not risking it. Do remember that mixing alcohol with prescriptions (even on accident) impairs driving, too.

Buzzed and drunk driving go for fellow drivers, too.

  1. Keep your distance if you suspect a driver is impaired
  2. Contact FHP to report their activity (it could save a life)

Whether it’s battling I-4 or just heading down the road — don’t risk it!

Avoid Peak Travel Times

Dangers increase the longer you’re on the road. So, reducing the total time on the road will reduce your chance of being in an accident.

Here are a few tips:

  1. Avoid peak travel times like Thanksgiving eve and mid-afternoon
  2. Head out as early as possible to avoid normal and holiday traffic
  3. Check traffic reports to plan and coordinate your travel timing

You know I-95, US1, and the turnpike are dangerous and packed most days. So, give yourself a buffer since they’re bound to get more frantic than usual.

Mind the Snowbirds

October and November are when snowbirds descend into Florida. Coincidentally, accidents tend to increase during the winter months that they’re here.

Our safety tip: Be mindful of your fellow drivers.

The snowbirds may not know state driving laws. Nor would they know recent traffic changes and the near-constant road construction. So, keep your distance and pay attention to others on the road so you have plenty of time to react.

Check Your Vehicle

Breaking down on a major roadway becomes a danger for you and fellow drivers. You can reduce sitting on the shoulder by doing a vehicle check-up.

Here are some things you can do for your vehicle:

  • Fill up the tires and check for noticeable wear & tear
  • Top up your engine fluids like oil, transmission fluid, and such
  • Check the brakes, seeing they work well or if they’re a bit ‘off’
  • Verify the headlights, brake lights, and turn signals are all working

Everything on the car looking good? Great! If not, get it over to a mechanic shop or take a different vehicle if possible. 

Take It Slow

I-4 is one of the most notorious, deadly roads in Florida. Spend enough time on I-4 and you’re bound to get into an accident. Add a ton of extra people traveling during the Florida Thanksgiving break and accidents are abound!

Take is slow… use the roads less traveled.

Taking it slow:

  • Lets you react to driving situations better
  • Reduces fatality rates when involved in accidents

You’ll drastically reduce driving risks by going slower.

Use GPS settings to avoid toll roads and major highways for an easy way to make driving stress-free. Plan ahead for the extra travel time and the scenic route won’t be so bad after all!

Don’t Get Distracted

Distracted driving can often be as dangerous as drunk driving.

What causes distractions?

  • Cellphones and devices
  • Unrestrained children or pets
  • Chatting with passengers

Keep those hands at 9 and 3 but also your mind sharp and attentive. It turns out that most distracted driving is from zoning out. Take breaks if needed or swap drivers if you feel like your mind is going into a lull.

Get Defensive

Defensive driving is the best way to go about handling fellow drivers. This puts you in more control of the vehicle and reactions to whatever comes your way.

Here are a few tips:

  • Distance yourself about 2 to 3 car lengths from the person in front
  • Scan your peripherals, minding how people are driving and acting
  • Slow down and increase distances if the weather is getting rough
  • Avoid knee-jerk reactions and circle around vs cutting across lanes

Assume everyone on the road is a potential danger. You never know if someone’s distracted or on the cusp of causing an accident.

Keep your cool, too, avoiding road rage and reckless driving.

Wear Your Seatbelt

Does it need repeating? Buckle up for safety!

What If My Florida Thanksgiving Involves an Accident?

How you react to an accident is as important as the actions taken to prevent them. You won’t always have a lot of time to process what happened. And, in some cases, fast reactions can save lives.

What do you do if involved in an accident?

  1. Check to make sure everyone is okay else call 911 for emergencies
  2. Move far into the shoulder (if possible), call FHP or the local police, and wait in the vehicle until they arrive
  3. Once an officer has arrived, begin filing a report and exchanging insurance information (get in touch with your insurance provider)
  4. Stay calm, finishing processing the info, and make arrangements for transportation or roadside assistance

A simple fender-bender could see you back on the road with ease. Accidents involving injuries become more serious to which you should consult legal help.

Be Thankful for Your Safety

A lot of people will take to the roads during the Florida Thanksgiving holiday break. Not everyone will make it home. This sad reality reminds us to be aware of the dangers when we’re on the open roads.

Use these driving tips to make your Thanksgiving a safe one. And, stay vigilant when behind the wheel — it’s for your safety and those you love!

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