By Glenda Bogar, American Red Cross volunteer
Thanksgiving is a special holiday that brings people together to give thanks and celebrate their blessings. Relatives gather around the table to enjoy their family’s version of the traditional Thanksgiving feast. Each year, millions of people drive to spend Thanksgiving with family and friends, making it one of the busiest times for road traffic.
If you are headed “over the river and through the woods to grandmother’s house,” as the childhood song goes, prepare in advance to ensure a safe visit. The American Red Cross offers 10 tips to help you stay safe if you are traveling by car:
- Make sure your car is in good condition for a road trip.
- Pack an emergency preparedness kit, supplies and a first aid kit in the trunk.
- Share travel plans with a family member or friend.
- Check the weather before departing and along your route. Plan for travel around any storms that may be coming.
- Be well rested and alert.
- Buckle up, slow down and don’t drive impaired.
- Follow the rules of the road and use caution in work zones.
- Give your full attention to the road. Avoid distractions such as cell phones.
- Make frequent stops. During long trips, rotate drivers. If you’re too tired to drive, stop and get some rest.
- If you have car trouble, pull off the road as far as possible.
‘Tis the season . . . flu season. So if public transportation is part of your travel plans, keep this in mind. From luggage to seats, everything that you touch is likely touched by someone else. Follow these tips to help avoid the spread of germs.
- Handle your own belongings.
- Wash your hands often with soap and water.
- Carry hand sanitizer and anti-bacterial wipes with you. You can use them to wash your hands or wipe down surfaces, such as armrests.
- Bring your own pillows and blankets. They can act as a shield against the seat itself.
To find out what supplies you should have on hand in an emergency preparedness kit, the Red Cross offers this checklist and quiz to test your knowledge: https://www.redcross.org/get-help/how-to-prepare-for-emergencies/survival-kit-supplies.html.
You can also download the free Red Cross Emergency App to help you monitor severe weather and emergency alerts.
Whichever road leads to your Thanksgiving destination, these Red Cross tips and tools can help keep you and your loved ones safe.