Thanksgiving Driving: Facts and Tips for Safety and Sanity

November 24th, 2015 by

According to AAA, nearly 47 million Americans will drive more than 50 miles this Thanksgiving, the highest number since 2007. Driving is by far the most popular mode of travel and this year’s spike is being driven by the lowest gas prices in memory. The National Highway Transportation and Safety Administration (NHTSA) Fatality Analysis Reporting System shows that Thanksgiving is the deadliest holiday to drive.


There are numerous things you can do to ensure your safety, maintain your sanity and minimize the stress of holiday travel.

Driving Safety

  • Make certain that tires are in good condition and properly inflated, that all fluids are topped off, and that windshield wipers are in good shape.
  • Wear Your Seatbelt
  • Do NOT text and drive
  • Be prepared with an emergency road kit, your insurance card and phone number for roadside assistance.
  • Take an analog map. Technology is great, unless you find yourself with no service
  • Follow our Pets and Car Safety Tips to make the ride more enjoyable for your pet

Enjoying the Ride

  • Research road closures and construction before you travel
  • Pack healthy snacks and bottled water
  • Plan your stops in advance, everyone needs a good stretch
  • If you are crossing state lines, be aware of laws regarding cell phone usage, gun carry permits, and tinted windows
  • Unplug, plan some old-fashioned car games like Mad Libs, I See Something and the License Plate game to engage the kids in fun and conversation
  • Take along your favorite music, an audio book

Timing is Everything


Waze, Google-owned navigation app predicts traffic patterns based on historical data. The Tuesday and Wednesday before Thanksgiving are projected to be the busiest, but if you have to drive on those days go early in the morning as traffic steadily increases between noon and 4 pm and will peak between 4 pm and 8 pm. Waze also predicts the return trip traffic. On Sunday, rush hour is expected to peak between 1pm and 6 pm, but will start in the morning.

If you are hitting the road, we hope you will use this information to increase your chances of arriving safely. Whether you are staying home or traveling, we wish you a very safe and Happy Thanksgiving.

And just in case you need it once you’ve arrived—the number for the Butterball Turkey Hotline is: 800.288.8372