The extended Thanksgiving weekend is one of the busiest travel periods of the year. As families and friends gather for the holiday, the California Highway Patrol (CHP) is encouraging travelers to always buckle up, avoid driving distracted, obey the posted speed limit, and never drink and drive.
The Thanksgiving holiday period – beginning Wednesday, Nov. 26, at 6 p.m. and ending Sunday, Nov. 30, at 11:59 p.m. – is a Maximum Enforcement Period (MEP) for the CHP. The Thanksgiving MEP also coincides with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s annual “Click It or Ticket” campaign.
The CHP recommends the following travel tips:
- Driving is a complex task, requiring a motorist’s full attention. Anything that diverts the driver’s eyes or attention from the roadway, even for 1-2 seconds, could result in tragedy. Stay off your phone!
- The law is explicit: Driving with a blood alcohol content (BAC) of .08% or more is illegal; but even with a lower BAC, a driver may be a hazard and taken to jail.
- Prepare for potential inclement weather by leaving early, allowing plenty of time to get to where you’re going. Make sure your gas tank is full. Always leave ample distance between your vehicle and the one ahead.
- If you’re heading to mountain country or anywhere you may encounter snow, bring chains, chain tighteners, and warm, waterproof clothing. Other items which may prove useful: flares, flashlight and strong batteries, a small shovel, windshield scraper, blankets, drinking water and snacks.
- Check in advance for road conditions by calling 1-800-427-7623 (when inside California) or 916-445-1534 (when outside California).
Tips for stranded motorists:
- If possible, pull over to the right shoulder, where you are at less risk of being struck by traffic.
- If in a lane of traffic, make certain your vehicle is visible to other drivers by turning on your hazard lights or emergency flashers.
- If you are disabled in the center median of a multi-lane freeway, remain in your vehicle with your seat belt fastened, and call 9-1-1 for assistance.
- If you exit your vehicle, do so on the opposite side of oncoming traffic and wait as far away from traffic as possible. If available, stand on a sidewalk, behind a guardrail, or up an embankment for further protection.
- Use your cellular telephone or a call box to arrange for roadside assistance. If you are concerned for your safety or if your vehicle poses a traffic hazard, dial 9-1-1.
Tips for motorcyclists:
- Wear a helmet – it can save your life.
- Watch your speed. A motorcycle collision is highly likely to cause injury or death.
- Assume people in cars don’t see you.
- Stay out of blind spots, especially on large trucks.
- Lane splitting while not encouraged is permissible if done in a safe and prudent manner.
Tips for drivers involved in minor, non-injury traffic collisions
- Moving to the shoulder or off the freeway after a minor, non-injury traffic collision, is not only the safest thing to do but it is the law (CVC 20002, CVC 23113.)
- Clearing the roadway after a minor, non-injury collision can help to free the flow of traffic, which will potentially expedite the arrival of an officer on scene.
- Moving your vehicle to a safe location limits exposure to dangerous situations such as being involved in another collision or being hit on the roadway as a pedestrian.
- Removing your vehicle from the collision scene, as long as there are no injuries to any of the involved parties, is not illegal and will not affect the investigation of the collision.