Thanksgiving road travel to increase in Southern California: tips for safe travel this holiday season


by Michael Pines, Accident & Injury Expert

Even though fuel costs are higher this Thanksgiving than last year, nearly 3.3 million Southern Californians are expected to hit the highways in pursuit of holiday tradition – a 4.1% increase over last year, the Auto Club of Southern California reports. Drivers can expect crowding on freeways and surface streets including an uptick in traffic starting as early as Tuesday. And as road traffic increases, the risk for

car accidents in San Diego

can also increase as well - drivers are urged to proceed with caution.

The spike in travel is attributed to the nation’s slow crawl out of the recession – and it’s not just Southern California travel on the rise. Other states reporting an increase in travel this year include Arizona, Illinois, Maryland, and Ohio.

“Those who have put off vacations all year, or maybe for a couple of years, are realizing they need to get away and they are finding ways to do it even on a tight budget,” said Filomena Andre, the Auto Club’s vice president for travel.

In addition to road travel, many Americans will also fly this year despite an increase in air travel by nearly 20 percent with some of the nation’s most popular airliners. And even though many travelers will fly by air, families will nevertheless use our roadways to pick up and drop off eager travelers.

“It’s a bit crazy here right now,” said one AAA agent.”We’ve had a lot of last-minute travelers make their way through the Bob Hope Airport as holiday travel begins in Burbank on Nov. 17, 2011. Booking requests and the space for Thanksgiving is already sold out, so now people are asking about Christmas instead.”

While air travel will increase among Americans this Thanksgiving holiday, still, 86 percent of Southern Californians will travel by car – living up to our stereotype of habitual driving and bad traffic.

Fortunately, however, the California Highway Patrol is taking Thanksgiving travel a step further this year by patrolling our roads in order to increase safety with a

Thanksgiving Maximum Enforcement Period

(MEP). CHP will be on alert from Wednesday, Nov. 23 at 6:01 p.m. through Sunday, Nov. 27 at 11:59 p.m. Through this initiative, the CHP will help keep our roads safer this holiday season.

“Be patient and attentive while traveling,” said California Highway Patrol (CHP) Commissioner Joe Farrow. “People are eager to see friends and loved ones, but it’s important to get to your destination safely.”

Farrow added: “Our goal is to encourage motorists to make safe choices to prevent tragedies.”

Tips for safe San Diego travel this Thanksgiving

Whether you’ll be driving 20 or 200 miles this holiday week, it’s never been more important to be aware of the road and be a safe and courteous driver. Use these no-nonsense tips below to reach your destination safety.

Plan your travel time

Arriving after the turkey has been carved is a sure way to put a damper on your Thanksgiving holiday, but nothing is more tragic than a car accident or even injury or death, no matter how late you may be. It’s important to plan your travel accordingly and allow for plenty of time for traffic congestion. As Jenny M. Robinson, Manager of Public and Government Affairs for AAA Mid-Atlantic, soberly reminds drivers: “This year there will be another 55 empty seats at this year’s holiday gatherings, in addition to many other lives that are needlessly lost on the highways throughout the year.” Get to your destination safety by preplanning your trip and leaving on time with room to spare.

Long travel requires plenty of rest

If you’re traveling outside of the local area, get plenty of rest the night before you travel. If your trip is considerably long, do not hesitate to use rest stops as your ally in getting to your destination safely. Most likely, you’ll also be traveling with family members who can drive a portion of the time.

Make sure your car is in good shape

Even if your car is fairly new, make sure to check the essentials before you head out: tires, brakes, oil levels, coolants, and even windshield wipers can make all the difference between a good trip and one that ends in an accident.

Distractions are prohibited!

Do not even consider talking on your cell, texting, or otherwise engage in any distracting activities during your drive. Of course, if you must take a call, use a rest stop, or pull over safety away from the street to make or return a call. Do not use freeway shoulders to make or take a call; only use shoulders in case of an emergency. Pull off of the freeway entirely and use parking lots or gas stations to make your calls safely.

About the Law Offices of Michael Pines, APC

Michael Pines, founder, is San Diego’s most trusted

personal injury attorney

and has served the area for over 20 years. The law office has helped many families in San Diego seek maximum financial recovery after a car accident injury has occurred. If you are injured and suspect it was someone else’s fault, call us now at 1-800-655-6585 day or night, 24/7, for a free legal consultation. We will answer your questions free of charge. Call us today; we may be able to help.