It is hard to believe Thanksgiving is already here in Oregon.  This means that hundreds of thousands of Oregonians are going to hit the road to spend Thanksgiving with friends and family.  The surge in traffic can cripple Oregon's roads especially around Portland, Salem, Woodburn, and Eugene.  The increased traffic not only can cause frustration and delay, but it can also cause more vehicle crashes.  Here are some tips to help reduce your stress and chances of being in a vehicle crash:

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  1. Travel during a less congested timeTravel and Leisure Magazine states that Portland's traffic will be at its worse this Wednesday and then again on Friday at 4 p.m.  They suggest driving on Thanksgiving day or early Sunday morning to avoid the traffic.  Also, leave a little earlier than you think you should.  This will build a buffer time, so you won't be in a rush to get to your destination if you encounter unforeseen traffic.
  2. Be Prepared for Traffic: If you get hangry, or have little ones you should be prepared for a trip that may take a couple of hours longer than usual.  Throwing some snacks in a bag, bringing some toys for the kids, or other things to entertain them will help relieve a lot of the frustration of sitting in traffic.  As a father of a toddler and a baby, I know this isn't always feasible, but it can help.  This may help you remain more alert and focused on the road.  
  3. Leave extra room between you and the car in front of you:  Rear end crashes are going to be common this weekend. People will be traveling too close to the vehicle in front of them.  It happens every year.  These crashes are easy to avoid if drivers simply pay attention and leave extra room between them and the car in front of you.  This can be hard in bumper to bumper traffic, but it can also mean the difference between staying safe and being in a crash.
  4. Cut Down on Distractions:  Phones, Ipads, in-vehicle movies, and rowdy kids can all create unnecessary distractions that can lead to a crash.  Drivers should do whatever they can to reduce these distractions.  The new iPhone update has a "Do not disturb"  option that allows the phone to not communicate while you are driving.  This is a handy feature but should be unnecessary if you simply remain off of the phone.   Keeping devices away from the driver and keeping the kids happy are two ways to prevent distractions. Also, remember the stiff penalties for holding a mobile device while driving.
  5. Ensure Your Vehicle is Mechanically Sound:   When was the last time your windshield wipers were replaced?  When was the last time your tires were inspected?  What about that noise under the hood?  These mechanical issues can result in a crash or an unnecessary delay.   It is supposed to be rainy all week in Northwestern Oregon so wipers, headlights, and tires are important on a long trip.  Good tires prevent you from hydroplaning so ensure you have ample tread on them.  Many crashes are a result of poor visibility so good wipers and headlights are a necessity.  Also, you don't want to be stranded on the side of the road with a serious mechanical issue that could have been avoided by a quick inspection.   If you think something is wrong with the vehicle, have it looked at before you leave.

Of course, there are other tips to keep you and your family safe on the road, but these should get you thinking about it.  You don't want a relaxing holiday to turn into a nightmare scenario.  If you, or someone you know, have been in a traffic crash please contact Jeremiah Ross at 503.224.1658 for your free personal injury case evaluation.  Ross Law LLC is happy to represent personal injury clients in Oregon.