Thanksgiving Travel Information You Need to Know
The Thanksgiving season is here! South Florida is known for its busy roads, but like many parts of the country, they will likely become even busier this week. It's the time of the year when families and friends gather to celebrate and give thanks. Many people travel long distances to see their loved ones. With the increase in travel comes a heightened risk of accidents on the road. As a personal injury and car accident injury law firm in South Florida, we understand the importance of being well-informed and prepared for safe Thanksgiving travel during this week. Here’s what you need to know:
1. The Scope of Thanksgiving Travel
2. Florida Travel Trends
3. Air Travel Projections
4. Road Traffic Predictions
5. Positive Trends in Travel Safety
6. Tips for Safe Thanksgiving Travel
7. What To Do in Case of an Accident
Understanding the Scope of Thanksgiving Travel
Thanksgiving is traditionally one of the busiest travel periods of the year. In 2023, AAA projects that 55.4 million Americans will travel 50 miles or more from home over the Thanksgiving holiday period. A 2.3% increase over the previous year and one of the highest travel volumes since AAA began tracking holiday travel in 2000. Many of these travelers – 49.1 million – are expected to travel by car.
Florida Travel Trends
South Florida is known for its beautiful coastlines and tropical weather even in the winter. So, the influx of visitors is even more pronounced. Florida set a record in 2022 by welcoming 137.6 million visitors, the largest number in its history. This surge in tourism and holiday travel significantly impacts road traffic and safety. Florida can expect high numbers of tourists this Thanksgiving.
Air Travel Projections
Air travel also sees a significant increase during the Thanksgiving season. In 2023, AAA anticipates that about 4.7 million people will fly to their Thanksgiving destinations. The busiest Thanksgiving travel days are typically the Tuesday and Wednesday before Thanksgiving, with Sunday and Monday being the most popular days for return flights.
Road Traffic Predictions
On the roads, traffic analytics firm INRIX predicts Wednesday, November 22, to be the busiest Thanksgiving travel day, with travel times potentially up to 80% longer than normal in some metropolitan areas. For South Florida residents and visitors, this means planning for potentially congested roads, particularly Interstate 95 and the Florida Turnpike!
The Positive Trend in Travel Safety
The good news is that recent statistics indicate a decrease in traffic fatalities. After a spike in traffic deaths during the pandemic, the numbers have been gradually decreasing.
In the first half of 2023, there was an estimated 3.3% decrease in motor vehicle traffic fatalities compared to the first half of 2022. This decline in fatalities occurred despite an increase in vehicle miles traveled – approximately 35.1 billion more miles or about 2.3% higher than the previous year. Thanksgiving travel is expected to be a little safer this year.
Tips for Safe Thanksgiving Travel
Given the expected increase in travel and the inherent risks, it's crucial for motorists to prioritize safety. Here are some essential tips for safe travel during the Thanksgiving holiday season:
Plan Your Route in Advance
With the anticipated heavy traffic, planning your route can help avoid congested areas and reduce travel time. Consider using navigation apps that provide real-time traffic updates.
Ensure Your Vehicle is Road-Ready
Before embarking on your journey, ensure that your vehicle is in good working condition. Check your tires, brakes, lights, and fluid levels. Make any necessary repairs before heading out on any road trips.
Avoid Peak Travel Times
If possible, travel during non-peak hours to avoid the worst of the traffic. According to INRIX, the best times to travel are in the morning before 11 a.m. or after 6 p.m. The worst Thanksgiving traffic will be between 2-6 p.m. on Wednesday, November 22nd.
Stay Alert and Avoid Distractions
Long drives can be tiring, and it’s easy to become distracted. Stay alert, take breaks if you feel drowsy, and avoid using your phone while driving. If you can, take turns with another adult in the car.
Observe Speed Limits
Speeding increases the risk of accidents. Observe speed limits and adjust your speed according to traffic and weather conditions. Be vigilant and employ defensive driving techniques during these busy traffic days.
Ensure that everyone in the vehicle is wearing a seatbelt. Remember that seatbelts undoubtedly save lives.
Don’t Drink and Drive
If your holiday celebration includes alcohol, designate a sober driver, or use a ride-sharing service.
Be Prepared for Emergencies
Carry an emergency kit in your vehicle that includes items such as a flashlight, first-aid kit, basic tools for tire repairs, jumper cables, and a tire pressure gauge.
What to Do in Case of an Accident
Check for Injuries
The safety of everyone involved is the priority. Check for injuries and call 911 if medical assistance is needed.
Move to Safety
If the accident is minor and your vehicle is obstructing traffic, move it to the side of the road if possible.
Exchange contact and insurance information with the other driver. Do NOT discuss fault or liability at the scene, and don’t apologize to the other driver.
Document the Scene
Take photos of the vehicles, any damage, and the accident scene. This documentation can be crucial for insurance claims or legal purposes.
Report the Accident
Report the accident to the police and your insurance company.
Seek Legal Assistance
If you’re injured, it’s advisable to consult with a car accident attorney to understand your rights and options. If you’re in South Florida, Michael Fischetti of Fischetti Law Group is an attorney with years of experience in car accident injuries.
Thanksgiving Travel Thoughts from a Car Accident Attorney
The holiday season is a time for joy and gratitude, but it’s also a time when we must be extra vigilant on the roads. By understanding the Thanksgiving travel trends and taking proactive steps to ensure safety, we can all do our part to make sure the roads are safe during this busy time.
Remember, if you or a loved one are involved in a car accident, our experienced car accident attorneys at Fischetti Law Group are here to help. We understand the ins and outs of car accident claims and are committed to helping our clients receive the compensation and justice they deserve. Stay safe and have a happy Thanksgiving holiday!
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