Another Thanksgiving is just around the corner. As you look forward to feasting and celebrating with family and friends, consider these safety tips to help ensure a happy and healthy holiday for yourself and your loved ones.
According to a forecast by AAA, over 54 million Americans will travel more than 50 miles from their homes during the Thanksgiving holiday period. This figure is the largest number of travelers since 2005. Most—48.5 million—will be traveling on the nation’s highways and roadways, which means more traffic and, ultimately, more traffic accidents. If you are taking a Thanksgiving road trip, these steps may help you avoid accidents and breakdowns that can lead to accidents, exposure to the elements and other injuries:
- Get your vehicle in shape. Check fluids and tire pressure and tread. Be sure brakes, headlights and brake lights, and windshield wipers are all working properly. Keep an emergency kit in the car that includes a jack, jumper cables, flashlight and extra batteries, wheel wrench and other tools, fire extinguisher, flares or reflective triangles, blanket, water, non-perishable foods and a first aid kit.
- Map your driving route ahead of time. Knowing where you are going and being able to anticipate when your road or highway exit is coming helps avoid last-minute lane changes, which are often responsible for crashes. Also, check weather conditions along your route so you will know what to expect.
- Get an early start on travel day so you don’t feel stressed or rushed. With the increased traffic on the roads, driving will almost surely take longer than normal, especially in metro areas. New York City is predicted to be one of three cities that will see a nearly quadruple increase in driving times, according to data from global mobility analytics company INRIX. San Francisco and Boston are the other two cities.
- Avoid driving while drowsy. If you grow tired on a long road trip, pull over and take a short nap or switch drivers, if possible.
- Don’t drink and drive. If you’ve imbibed at your Thanksgiving host’s home or other location, but are staying elsewhere, either call a cab or ride service, hitch a ride with a sober family member or friend, or ask if it is possible to stay over.
Preparing what is often the largest meal of the year can be stressful, especially when you know guests are on the way. While you may feel rushed, don’t take any shortcuts. Food that is not properly thawed, cooked, cleaned or stored can lead to illness.
- If you buy a fresh turkey, cook it within one to two days of purchase. For frozen, make sure you thaw it properly.
- Wash hands thoroughly with warm water and soap before touching and preparing food. And wash them again after touching raw turkey and before you touch any other food. Don’t let the raw turkey accidentally come into contact with other foods you are preparing.
- Don’t wash the turkey, which can spread bacteria onto kitchen surfaces. Proper cooking will get rid of bacteria from the bird. Do wash produce to remove dirt and bacteria that can cause serious illness. (However, most food safety experts recommend not rewashing pre-washed packaged produce products. It is more likely bacteria will be introduced rather than lingering bacteria removed.)
- Use a food thermometer to ensure your bird is adequately cooked throughout. The temperature should measure 165 degrees F.
- Refrigerate leftovers within two hours.
Finally, if a guest has had too much to drink, don’t allow them to drive. Take their keys away if needed and either allow them to stay over or arrange a ride for them. If someone who has been drinking at your house gets behind the wheel and causes an accident, you could also be held liable.
If you suffer an accident or other injury and need the services of an experienced attorney, the professionals at Kaplan Law are available for you to contact 24/7.