Spending Thanksgiving in New Orleans? 10 Tips to Travel Safely

Travel tips for Thanksgiving in New Orleans

Thanksgiving in New Orleans is a special time of year. Families and friends come together to enjoy each other’s company, and feast on Thanksgiving favorites prepared in their own kitchens or prepared by chefs at favorite local restaurants. But along with all the festivities comes driving—and lots of it. 

The holidays are the busiest time of the year on Louisiana roads, and during Thanksgiving weekend, traffic is at its absolute peak. It’s no surprise, then, that car accidents are very common during this time. Wondering what you can do to stay safe while on the road this Thanksgiving in New Orleans? Check out these travel safety tips from our associates at Mike Brandner Injury Attorneys.

Inspect Your Vehicle

If you’re like millions of Americans traveling 50 miles or more during Thanksgiving weekend, you should inspect your vehicle before driving. If it’s been a while since your car has been serviced, it doesn’t hurt to take it to a mechanic for a full tuneup before you hit the road. This includes changing your oil, checking your tire pressure and tread, and making sure that you don’t forget your spare tire and car jack. Doing so will help prevent a flat tire or dead battery from derailing your Thanksgiving in New Orleans. Having your vehicle inspected before you leave will also give you peace of mind. 

Fill Up Your Gas Tank

It may seem like a no-brainer, but you’d be surprised how many people forget to fill up their gas tank before leaving for a trip. Unexpected traffic jams can cause you to use more fuel than you were planning on, so always fill your tank to capacity. Additionally, don’t be afraid to stop more frequently for gas than you might normally.

When you do, always use the best-rated gasoline for your vehicle, and don’t use any fuel you’re not familiar with. Check your driver’s manual if you’re unsure which fuel is best for your car’s make and model.

Pack Carefully

Be careful not to overload your car. Each vehicle has a maximum load capacity. The total load capacity of your vehicle is usually located on the driver’s placard in the door jamb. Note that the weight listed is the total weight the vehicle can handle, including passengers and cargo. 

In addition, when packing luggage, do not block windows or blind spots. Secure any food items in a place where they will not tip over. The last thing you want to worry about is if your sweet potato casserole spilled because you had to slam on your brakes.

Plan Your Route (Plus a Backup Route)

Whether you’re spending Thanksgiving in New Orleans or some other location outside of Louisiana, you should have a good idea of which route you’re taking before you leave.

Additionally, you may want to plan for alternate routes in case traffic is backed up on major roadways. Most smartphones come with GPS systems that can monitor your route for accidents traffic hazards and can reroute you as necessary. If you’ll be driving through areas with poor cell service, consider bringing a physical map as a backup. 

Furthermore, check the weather ahead of time. You may need to adjust your departure time if the roads will be wet or visibility is diminished. Louisiana averages about seven rainy days each November, so pay attention to weather forecasts.

Bring an Emergency Kit

You never know when an emergency could happen. According to the National Safety Council, a basic emergency kit should contain a flashlight, blankets, first-aid kit, spare tire, jumper cables, road flares, non-perishable food items, and water. You may also want to pack a toolkit for your car, extra batteries for flashlights, a cell phone charger, and a rain poncho.

Be Patient

Road rage and general traffic jam frustration is a contributing factor to vehicular accidents year-round, so try to remain patient and collected while traveling this week. There’s definitely going to be traffic, so you should adjust your plans and expectations accordingly. Other drivers are prone to experiencing this frustration, too. Be alert for erratic drivers who may attempt dangerous maneuvers while on the road. Make sure your Thanksgiving in New Orleans is a safe one by choosing not to engage with aggressive drivers and practicing defensive driving.

Tend to Your Passengers

Don’t forget to tend to the needs of your passengers. If traveling with children, make sure they are buckled up and in the appropriate car seat. Bring things to keep them busy, too, such as toys to play with or movies to watch. 

As for pets, you should buckle them up, too. Secure your pet with a harness, seatbelt, or crate. Unruly passengers can be a dangerous distraction while driving, and any distraction during the holidays is especially dangerous.

Focus on the Road

Speaking of distractions, as a driver, you should stay as focused as possible. This means no talking on the phone while driving, no texting and driving, and no taking your eyes off the road. In addition, avoid other distractions such as listening to the radio on high volumes or carrying on intensive conversations with other passengers. Driving distracted increases the chance of being involved in an accident, so stay clear-headed and concentrate on getting to your Thanksgiving feast safely.

Obey Traffic Laws

In the hustle and bustle of Thanksgiving weekend, many people ignore traffic laws to try to get to their destination faster. Avoid this temptation by obeying the speed limit, seatbelt laws, and right of way laws to make sure that you and everyone else stay safe. Always watch for pedestrians and bicyclists while in the city.

Drive Rested and Sober

One of the most common causes of car accidents is driver fatigue, which is nearly as dangerous as drunk driving. Make sure you get plenty of rest before you begin your journey. If you ever feel drowsy during your drive, pull over! Even a 20-minute nap can help rejuvenate you and prepare you for a long trip. If possible, drive in shifts for long trips so that everyone gets a chance to rest their eyes.

Driving the day before Thanksgiving, or “Black Wednesday” as it is sometimes called, can also be dangerous. Many people flock to bars the day before Thanksgiving. Because of this, driving under the influence is another all-too-common problem during this time on top of already-crowded streets. If you’re planning on spending the day before Thanksgiving in New Orleans, be sure to bring a designated driver or use a rideshare service to get home safely.

Who to Call If Injured on Thanksgiving

If you have suffered injury this Thanksgiving holiday due to another’s negligent or reckless driving, Mike Brandner Injury Attorneys is here to help. Our skilled and compassionate personal injury lawyers will explore your options, gather evidence to strengthen you case, and ultimately get you the maximum compensation. There are no fees unless we win. Call us today, speak with a representative online, or submit a free case review now.

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The information on this blog is for general information purposes only. Nothing herein should be taken as legal advice for any individual case or situation. This information is not intended to create, and receipt or viewing does not constitute, an attorney-client relationship.