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5 Tips for Safe Holiday Travels

AAA’s 2021 Thanksgiving Travel Forecast predicts that an estimated 48.3 million holiday travelers will hit the road to big cities like Phoenix between Wednesday, November 24 and Sunday, November 28. In addition, another 5.2 million travelers will choose other modes of transportation such as air, bus, cruise, or train for a total of 53.4 million individuals traveling during the Thanksgiving holiday weekend.

With 90% of holiday travelers choosing to travel by car – despite rising gas prices – AAA cautions that the roads will be overcrowded and urges patience to avoid stress. The organization adds that “major metro areas across the U.S. could see more than double the delays versus typical drive times,” as Thanksgiving travel is expected to nearly recover from pandemic levels thanks to updated guidance by the CDC.

For those traveling by car, AAA predicts the heaviest traffic between 12:00 and 8:00 pm on Wednesday, November 24, and recommends hitting the road when there is less traffic. They further recommend traveling after 9:00 pm on Wednesday and before 11:00 am on Thanksgiving Day. However, motorists may also experience inclement weather and road closures, reinforcing the need for patience.

The following are ways to stay safe on the road and ensure you have the right auto insurance coverage this Thanksgiving. Plus, since Thanksgiving marks the start of the holiday season, these tips will prove helpful all season long.

Stay Alert

As the 2021 Thanksgiving Travel Forecast points out, major transportation corridors will be busy, with the possibility of substantial delays as 48.3 million people travel to popular destinations. In addition to congested roadways, there may be the potential for traffic restrictions, especially in areas with ongoing road construction or improvements. These factors highlight the importance of being alert behind the wheel. The National Safety Council recommends getting a good night’s sleep and avoiding drowsy driving.

Service Your Car

It’s essential to ensure your vehicle is ready for holiday travel by inspecting critical components before your trip. You should check the battery, tires, brakes, and essential fluids to ensure they’re all in optimal condition. Equally essential is inspecting the windshield wipers, replacing them as needed, and ensuring your vehicle’s headlights are clean. You should also pack an emergency roadside kit and, if visiting the snow, snow chains. Finally, it’s essential to carry proof of auto insurance with you.

Plan for the Weather

Another potential reason for delays is inclement weather. Even though the Winter Solstice – also known as the first day of winter – isn’t until Tuesday, December 21, the Arizona Department of Transportation (ADOT) encourages planning for wintry conditions should you be traveling through the state. Make sure to watch the weather reports so that you can plan the best route for your travels. ADOT recommends downloading the 511 app or dialing 511 for updated road and weather conditions. 

Hands Off Your Phone

Per ARS § 28-914, handheld cellphone use is against the law, not to mention incredibly dangerous. In Arizona, it’s hands-off while driving, meaning you cannot touch or hold your phone without potentially facing stiff penalties. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) considers texting the most alarming reason for motor vehicle crashes. The safest option is to avoid all distractions, but if you must use your phone, use it in hands-free mode.

Get the Right Auto Insurance

Hegarty-Haynes Insurance understands the importance of providing superior quality insurance solutions and has dedicated our resources to helping Arizonans find excellent auto insurance coverage at affordable prices. Our commitment to ongoing support and responsiveness backed by years of experience sets our agency apart from the rest.

We invite you to contact Hegarty-Haynes Insurance to discuss receiving a complimentary insurance quote with one of our independent insurance agents today at (480) 820-2297. We look forward to helping you find the best auto, business, home, or life insurance policy for your specific needs.


“Distracted Driving.” The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).

Editors, The. “Winter Solstice 2021: The First Day of Winter.” The Old Famers Almanac, November 1, 2021.

Edmonds, Ellen. “Buckle Up: Thanksgiving Travel to Rebound Almost to Pre-Pandemic Levels. AAA Newsroom, November 9, 2021.

“Enjoy a Safe Holiday Season.” National Safety Council (NSC).

“Know Snow and Ice.” Arizona Department of Transportation (ADOT).

Merrill, Laurie. “Get ready for winter: First highways close in November.” Arizona Department of Transportation (ADOT), November 12, 2021.

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