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Holiday Travel: Red Cross Urges Safety As Millions Take to the Highway for Thanksgiving

Travel Safety

Travel risk greater over holiday; avoid distractions, plan ahead

WASHINGTON, D.C. – November 18, 2016 — More than 48 million people are expected to travel over the upcoming Thanksgiving holiday, and the American Red Cross is urging travelers to stay safe by offering tips to travelers.

According to experts, nearly 50 million people are expected to travel at least 50 miles between November 23 – 27 to visit loved ones over the holiday weekend. Travel risks can be greater at this time of year as more vehicles are on the roads, weather conditions may be dangerous and drivers can be distracted by the holiday season. Plan ahead and expect delays.

DRIVING SAFETY Drivers can follow these Red Cross tips to help make their trip a safe one:

  • Make sure your car is in good condition for a road trip.
  • Pack an emergency preparedness kit and supplies in the trunk.
  • Share travel plans with a family member or friend.
  • Check the weather along your route and 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 of the road as far as possible.
  • WINTER DRIVING SAFETY If road conditions are dangerous:

  • Pull over and stay with your vehicle. Do not try to walk to safety.
  • Tie a brightly colored cloth (preferably red) to the antenna for rescuers to see.
  • Start the car and use the heater for about 10 minutes every hour. Keep the exhaust pipe clear so fumes won't back up in the car.
  • Leave the overhead light on when the engine is running to help rescuers see the vehicle.
  • Keep one window slightly open – away from the blowing wind – to let in air.
  • Keep the car's gas tank full for emergency use and to keep the fuel line from freezing.
  • AIR, TRAIN TRAVEL It’s flu season. If someone has been sick or been in contact with someone who is sick, they should consider postponing their trip. They could be contagious for a week before symptoms appear.

  • Remember that everything you touch is likely touched by someone else – luggage handlers, etc – which is how germs are spread.
  • 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.
  • Avoid touching your face or eyes. If you have to cough or sneeze, do so into a tissue or your sleeve.
  • WEATHER ALERTS AND FIRST AID TIPS People can download the Red Cross Emergency App for instant access to winter storm tips and weather alerts for their area and where loved-ones live. Expert medical guidance and a hospital locator are included in the First Aid App in case travelers encounter any mishaps. Both apps are available to download for free in app stores or at redcross.org/apps.

    The Red Cross hopes everyone will have a safe and fun Thanksgiving holiday.

    About the American Red Cross:

    The American Red Cross shelters, feeds and provides emotional support to victims of disasters; supplies about 40 percent of the nation's blood; teaches skills that save lives; provides international humanitarian aid; and supports military members and their families. The Red Cross is a not-for-profit organization that depends on volunteers and the generosity of the American public to perform its mission. For more information, please visit redcross.org or cruzrojaamericana.org, or visit us on Twitter at @RedCross.