Thanksgiving Long Weekend Safe Driving Tips

A young family take an autumn road trip

For most people, the Canadian Thanksgiving long weekend is more than a three-day holiday. It’s a time to reflect on the preceding nine months and gather with family and friends to welcome what many folks regard as the best time of year: autumn.

The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has affected how we typically go about our daily lives, but many folks may have plans to take a road trip or visit safely with family and friends for Thanksgiving dinner. If you’re one of them, there are two things you can count on this Thanksgiving: traffic and a heavy police presence on the roads. Officers will be watching out for drivers who are impaired, distracted, driving aggressively, or not wearing their seatbelts.

Thanksgiving road trip checklist

If you’re gearing up for a road trip this holiday weekend, be sure to plan for the drive with these Thanksgiving long weekend safe driving tips:

  • Prepare your vehicle for the drive ahead. Top up your car’s windshield wiper fluid, ensure that your tires are properly inflated, and remember to travel with an emergency roadside safety kit.
  • Make sure you’ve got all your car-related documents handy. No matter where you’re travelling this weekend, your car insurance coverage will follow you should something go wrong. Ensure you have your driver’s licence, car insurance documents, vehicle ownership and registration with you.
  • Buckle up. Wearing a seatbelt saves lives. Strap in and make sure everyone in the car does, too.
  • Be patient. You will likely encounter traffic along the way. Take your time. Don’t drive aggressively and avoid speeding or tailgating. Drive defensively by leaving a safe distance between you and the car ahead of you, and always signal before changing lanes or making a turn. You’re heading out to enjoy time with loved ones. Enjoy the drive, too.
  • Monitor weather reports. If there’s rain in the forecast (or worse), adjust your driving to fit the conditions. Foul weather and poor visibility require you to drive at a slower speed than the posted limit. Posted speed limits designate the fastest speed at which you can safely travel in optimal road conditions. When roads and the weather are not optimal, slow down. Also, be aware of traffic reports before you leave and while on the road to make changes to your route if need be.
  • Map out less travelled routes. Major highways are everyone’s route of choice on long weekends, so why not try some of the smaller highways? In addition to less traffic, you’ll also be treated to some dazzling scenery as the leaves begin to change colour.
  • Stretch your legs. Budget time on your road trip for at least one rest stop to stretch your legs, especially if your drive is a long one.
  • Watch for emergency vehicles. If there is a collision up ahead of you, give emergency personnel the space they need. Slow down and move over when passing police, ambulance, fire trucks, or tow trucks with flashing lights on; it’s the law and comes with hefty fines if ignored.
  • Don’t drive distracted. Distracted driving is hazardous. Put your mobile phone on “Do Not Disturb,” let your passengers select the music, and if you get peckish, eat at a rest stop.
  • Don’t drive tired. Driver fatigue can result in poor driving decisions. If you’re tired, let someone else take the wheel or take a nap where you are before hitting the road.
  • Don’t drive impaired. Never get behind the wheel if you’ve consumed alcohol or cannabis. Always have a designated driver ready if you intend to partake in either.

Unfortunately, all long weekends must end. As much as you might plan and prepare to get to where you want to go, don’t forget to do the same for your return home.

On this Thanksgiving long weekend, take care when out on the roads and arrive at your destination safely. Happy Thanksgiving!

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