A person driving with the words, "Thanksgiving travel tips."

With the holiday season quickly approaching, the streets are becoming busier, people are looking forward to spending some much-needed time with loved ones, and everyone is working out their holiday travel plans. While the holidays are busy, Thanksgiving is one of the busiest times of the year for travel. Over 50 million people last year traveled for Thanksgiving, and while that number was significantly lower than in 2019 which saw 55 million travelers, the numbers are only projected to rise this year.

One of the craziest parts about the pandemic is that it has also created a shift in Thanksgiving travel. Traditionally, people use the Wednesday before Thanksgiving to hit the road and the Sunday after to return home. However, since many people are able to work from home, they have reported that they are traveling as early as November 15th to spend more time with family. 

With the roads and airports becoming busier earlier in the season, the risk of an accident is also increasing. However, there are ways that you can help protect yourself and your loved ones while traveling to your holiday destination. Whether you are traveling by car or by plane, here are some Thanksgiving travel tips from your trusted team at Hernandez Law Group, P.C.

1. Make a Schedule That Is Flexible Enough to Handle Changing Traffic or Airline Times

One of the most stressful things about traveling during Thanksgiving is the idea of deadlines or trying to fit in as many activities as possible to make the most of your off time. While this may seem like a productive idea, it actually makes for hasty and poor decisions while on the road that can lead to the opposite of productivity.

When planning your Thanksgiving itinerary, make sure to leave plenty of time to get to your destination, such as leaving 30 minutes to an hour early, so you can account for traffic. Whether you are heading to the airport or straight to a family member’s house, giving yourself some wiggle room will make that road trip a lot less stressful and keep everyone in a happier and safer mood.

Also remember that if you are traveling by plane, airline changes are a possibility. Whether from staffing shortages, inclement weather, or other issues, an airline can delay or even completely change the time of a flight. Make sure your travel day remains fairly open and flexible to reduce the stress on these days.

Finally, make sure you share your travel plans with your family members so that they can know where you are. If something were to happen, your family should know generally where you should be and can notify authorities as to your potential location so that they can come and provide aid if you are unable to contact authorities yourself. 

2. Keep an Eye on Weather Conditions and Plan Accordingly

Especially if you are traveling by car, weather conditions should always be taken into consideration before you travel. Icy roads and heavy rain can make roadways treacherous, so planning more time to handle these situations is a must. Here are some things to keep in mind depending on how you decide to travel:

Inclement Weather on the Roads

When dealing with inclement weather while driving, be sure to keep these tips in mind:

  • Before you even drive the vehicle, make sure all of your car’s equipment is working properly: The last thing you want is to be broken down on the side of the road or even greater reduced visibility thanks to a broken headlight. 
  • Slick roads from rain or ice will double your stopping distance: Make sure you are not following too close to the car in front of you and reduce your speed.
  • Drive slowly: This will decrease the risk of hydroplaning, skidding, and accidents.
  • Make sure all of your passengers are buckled up: While precautions can reduce the risk of an accident, the chances are never zero. Buckling up will protect your family from serious harm in an accident. 
  • If you cannot see due to heavy rain, snow, or fog, pull over: Do not try to drive when visibility is low. It is best to pull over and wait for visibility to increase before heading back on the road.

Inclement Weather When Traveling By Plane

If you are traveling by plane and there is a high chance of inclement weather, it is best to follow these tips to stay safe:

  • Try to get your flights in the morning: Early flights are less likely to be delayed or canceled due to inclement weather as bad weather tends to have accumulated effects as the day goes on.
  • Give yourself plenty of time during layovers/connecting flights: Layovers are not fun, but what is even worse is a layover that is too short for comfort. Try to leave at least an hour or two in between your connecting flights to ensure you can make both on time. 
  • If the weather is looking pretty bad for your destination or connecting flight, ask for a reroute: Airlines are committed to the safety of their passengers so if you feel uncomfortable with your route due to inclement weather, ask to reschedule your connecting flight. However, if you decide to do this, make sure you call them ahead of time and don’t try to switch right before you get on the plane.
  • Call the Airline and Check the Flight Schedule OftenMake sure you know if your airline is still on schedule or if it has been delayed by contacting them and checking the flight schedule on their website. The schedule should be updated regularly.
  • Stay Near the Gate: The airline personnel will update those near the gate often on the flight’s status and may offer alternative flights or lodging should a delay or cancellation occur.
  • Always Have a Backup Plan: Inclement weather can quickly change a flight plan so having your backup plan is a must. This can be knowing what hotels are close by to call in case of cancellations or other flights you may be able to make to get to your destination.

3. Have a Car Safety Kit 

A car safety kit should always include the following items:

  • Jumper Cables
  • Tool Kit or Multipurpose Utility Tool
  • Flashlight and extra batteries
  • Reflective triangles to make your vehicle more visible if you break down at night
  • Compass
  • First aid kit
  • Nonperishable food items
  • Water
  • Car charger for your cell phone
  • Fire extinguisher
  • Duct tape
  • Blanket
  • Snowbrush
  • Windshield washer fluid
  • Warm clothing
  • Cat litter (helps with traction if your wheels get stuck)

4. Knowledge on What to Do If You Get Into an Accident

Knowing what to do in the event of an accident can help prevent further injury and help you stay calm in a high-tense situation. Here is what you need to do if you are ever involved in an accident:

  • Get You and Your Vehicle Out of the Road: If it is possible, the first thing is to get your vehicle and any passengers off the road. This will help prevent further accidents.
  • If You Cannot Get Out Of The Way, Protect The Scene: Set up flares and turn on your flashers to help warn other drivers of the accident and prevent them from hitting you and your disabled car.
  • Call Emergency AuthoritiesCall the police and medical professionals if someone is injured.
  • Give an Accurate Report of What Happened But Do Not Admit Fault: Give a clear statement as to what happened during the accident. Do not speculate or guess about events you don’t remember and never admit to fault. This statement is extremely important for helping you get the compensation you deserve.
  • Take Pictures of the Accident: Pictures can be used to help paint a picture of what happened and the magnitude of the aftermath.
  • Exchange Contact and Insurance Information With the Other Driver(s): Make sure you get every driver’s name, number, address, and insurance information.
  • Get Witness’ Contact Information and Statements: If there were witnesses to the accident, it is important that you get their information as well so that you or your attorney can contact them in the future.
  • Report the Accident to Your Insurance Provider: Most insurance policies require that you make a statement about the accident as soon as possible. Some insurance companies will have medical benefits as part of their policy.
  • Seek Medical Attention: Even if you do not feel like you are injured or you think it isn’t that bad, make sure you check up with a healthcare professional either at a hospital or your doctor. This will help bring to light any injuries that may not be readily apparent, such as a concussion,  as well as provide documentation of your injuries that may be useful later on.
  • Contact a Car Accident AttorneyIf your accident happened in the DFW Metroplex, Amarillo, or Abilene, your trusted team will be the dedicated car accident attorneys at the Hernandez Law Group, P.C.

Were You Injured in an Accident?

Whether you were injured in a car accident or injured on a flight due to the negligence of the flight staff, another passenger, or the manufacturer of the plane, you may be entitled to monetary compensation for damages and medical expenses. The caring personal injury team at the Hernandez Law Group, P.C. can help you get the compensation you deserve by gathering the necessary evidence, handling insurance companies, and making sure your voice is heard. Contact our team today for more information on our services or to schedule a complimentary no-obligation consultation.