Eight Rules for Safer Holiday Travel This Thanksgiving

As you get together with family and friends, make sure you’re doing your best to stay safe and keep others safe. Robert Wunderlich, the director of the Texas A&M Transportation Institute’s (TTI’s) Center for Transportation Safety, offers eight practical travel rules to follow during the holidays.

Wear seatbelts — every trip, every person. Nearly half of people who die in Texas motor vehicle crashes are unbelted. Buckle up, turkeys!

Keep your eyes on the road and your hands on the wheel. It’s easy to drive erratically when you take your hands off the wheel to do anything else, especially to use a mobile device.

Be visibly smart as a pedestrian or bicyclist. Some ways to do that are to:

  • Walk where drivers would expect to see you.
  • Wear reflective gear or carry a light to make yourself visible.
  • Make sure your bike has reflectors and lights.
  • Put a reflective emergency vest in your car.

Wear protective gear if you’re a motorcyclist. That means a helmet plus boots, gloves and protective clothing. You’ll be glad you did!

Drive friendly — the Texas way! Do your best to drive the speed limit. Leave early to meet up with family and friends.

Respect other motorists, pedestrians, motorcyclists and bicyclists. Let the other person go first!

Make sure your child is in a certified car seat. Have the installation checked by a certified car seat technician. A surprisingly large percentage are not installed correctly. Be prepared!

Train your teen driver on how to drive safely at night. Not wearing a seatbelt, speeding, being distracted by other teens or their phone, and driving under the influence are all risk factors for teen drivers (in addition to the recent time change).

Have a plan for getting home safely before drinking. Drinking impairs judgment, so the time to make arrangements for getting home is before you start, not after. Call a friend, go with a designated driver, or call a ridesharing service or taxi.

It turns out that impaired walking is no better than impaired driving. Two-thirds of impaired pedestrian deaths and injury crashes involve an impaired pedestrian.

Holidays are all about fun, and they should be. But it’s just as important to follow good safety practices. This month, TxDOT marked almost two decades of daily deaths on Texas roads. Help us make this holiday safer to End The Streak on our roads.

Happy Thanksgiving from TTI!