Be Safe on the Road This Week
By Era Sundar
More than 3 million Texans are expected to take road trips this Thanksgiving holiday, according to AAA Texas. A little preparation can go a long way in making travel more pleasant.
Getting there is supposed to be half the fun, but crowded roads and mechanical failure can turn a great road trip into a travel nightmare. The Texas Department of Transportation is gearing up for the expected Thanksgiving travel rush.
“One of the things that we do is try to suspend construction lane closures on all of the roads over the holiday weekend,” TxDOT spokesman Chris Bishop said.
Unusually heavy traffic and drivers who sometimes forget to follow the rules of the road can lead to more accidents.
“Make sure that you don’t drive drowsy,” Bishop said. “Get enough sleep. Better to get there a half an hour or an hour later than to not get there at all.”
It’s also important to make sure your car is in good condition. Tire treads, tire pressure, oil levels and battery power are essential. And when the weather gets cooler, there are additional concerns.
“Nothing makes me crazier than to see a car that’s been sitting in the cold, [then the] person jumps in and drives right off,” said James Bell, head of consumer affairs at General Motors. “You need to get that engine warmed up for fuel efficiency and also to make sure the oil is getting passed around within the engine. That’s your protection. And if it’s not there to protect the bits and pieces in the car, that can get very expensive later.”
Bell says it’s also important to keep at least half a tank of gas in the car, especially when temperatures fluctuate. Having a minimum gas level helps lessen the effects of condensation, which introduces water into the fuel line. And that’s not good. Having enough antifreeze and coolant is also important.
Still, inconveniences and emergencies do happen. So it’s a good idea to have bottled water, extra medication, tools, a flashlight and other supplies in the car for long trips.
“Make sure you always keep a spare car cellphone charger with you,” Bell said. “I can’t think of anything worse than being stuck on the side of the road and slowly watching that battery drift out on that cellphone.”
AAA estimates that nearly 40 million people in the United States will hit the road this Thanksgiving break .