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Tips for going over the river and through the woods

Soon families all over the country will take to the highways to visit friends and relatives for the Thanksgiving holidays.

According to AAA, during one recent year, 42.5 million Americans were projected to travel at least 50 miles to celebrate the holiday. All that traffic means that drivers should be well-prepared. Below are some tips for a safer journey.

Never leave home without fueling up with a tankful of gas. Check tire pressure and fluid levels before embarking on your journey.

Include an emergency kit with supplies in case of medical emergencies or accidents. Take a blanket, basic tools, flashlight and a first-aid kit. Snacks and bottled water are good to carry as well.

Don't exceed your vehicle's load capacity with luggage, etc. Look inside the door jamb on the driver's side to see what the cargo limits are, and include passengers as well.

If your vehicle has a navigation system, use it or your smartphone to track your route and avoid congestion from prior accidents. Eliminate driver distractions by designating the front seat passenger as navigator.

Make sure that all passengers wear their safety belts the entirety of the trip. If kids slip their bounds, pull over to the shoulder when it is safe and make them get belted back in.

While Florida drivers have fewer types of inclement weather to cope with, wet highways are a safety hazard that increases the risk of skidding when stopping suddenly. When the wipers come on, the speed should decrease to compensate for the risk.

Despite all precautions, if your Thanksgiving holiday is marred by an accident caused by another driver, consider your legal options carefully when filing any claims for damages.

Source: Consumer Reports, "Safe driving tips for Thanksgiving travel," Liza Barth, accessed Nov. 06, 2015

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