In 2021, the National Safety Council estimated 515 deaths on U.S. roads over the Thanksgiving holiday period.  -  Photo: Canva

In 2021, the National Safety Council estimated 515 deaths on U.S. roads over the Thanksgiving holiday period.

Photo: Canva

Some 61% of Americans plan to travel over the Thanksgiving holiday with 80% choosing to drive to their destination, and many are sticking to 50 miles of home, according to a recent survey from cars.com.

Out of the respondents who plan to travel, 40% are traveling within 20 miles of home and another 25% are traveling between 21 and 50 miles.

Nearly half of respondents report that they will be hitting the road due to the high costs of air travel — even though they prefer to fly. Less flying for Thanksgiving means more people on the nation’s highways and byways.

Fleet drivers who work during the long holiday weekend should be prepared for increased traffic. Remind your drivers to practice their best defensive driving.

For starters, remind your drivers to always buckle up and to stay calm when hitting congested roads. While other drivers may get frustrated, professional drivers should never engage with hostile motorists who tailgate, lean on the horn, or yell out the window.

And, fleet drivers should be extra vigilant about spotting drivers who swerve out of their lane or speed up and slow down constantly. On a holiday weekend, there’s a good chance those are signs of an impaired or distracted driver behind the wheel.

What Else to Expect on Thanksgiving Roadways

Fleet drivers may be spotting more electric vehicles on the highways this Thanksgiving holiday. And that’s important to know because they may be anxious drivers.

Of the survey respondents traveling by car, 18% say they are planning to make the trip in an EV — a significant jump from the 10% that planned to take an EV in the cars.com Labor Day Travel survey. However, range anxiety remains a concern with 66% of EV drivers reporting that range anxiety affects their travel distance.

Stress caused by charging station worry is a safety concern — as stress behind the wheel is never good.

According to cars.com, for current EV owners, a solid road-trip plan can help alleviate anxiety regardless of the vehicle’s maximum range. 86% of EV drivers say they planned their route based on charging stations, and nearly 50% said that finding charging stations along the route is convenient. 

However, inoperable charging stations can mess up even the best-laid plans. According to a J.D. Power study, many EV owners cite out-of-service chargers as a major concern, even as more chargers are installed across the country.

Thanksgiving is not only associated with family and fun. Unfortunately, national statistics show that car crashes increase by 17% during the day and the night before Thanksgiving. In 2021, the National Safety Council estimated 515 deaths on U.S. roads over the Thanksgiving holiday period.

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