6650380941_28b9739f2b_zImage from Flickr via

This Thanksgiving holiday begins on Wednesday November 27, “getaway day,” and extends through Sunday night, December 1, at 11:59 p.m. For those of us heading to Grandma’s house for Thanksgiving this year, the days of the one-horse open sleigh are, sadly, gone.

Instead we will have to travel to and from an airport or train station and stand in line with other stressed-out members of the human race, hoping that our chosen mode of public transportation will not be canceled or delayed and that no one in the Transportation Safety Administration will force us to give up something important for our trip because our special night moisturizer looks like a bomb.

A4A (Airlines for America) is forecasting that 25 million passengers will fly on U.S. airlines during the 2013 Thanksgiving holiday—up by by 1.5 percent from last year. INRIX, a provider of traffic information, warns air travelers to add an additional 20 minutes for the trip to the airport.

The AAA reports that 90 percent of Americans traveling this holiday week are preparing to travel by automobile, and projects that 43.4 million Americans will journey 50 miles or more from home during the Thanksgiving holiday week.  INRIX, the leading provider of accurate, real-time, historic, predictive traffic information solutions, has predicted that our “trip out of town on Wednesday will take 30 percent longer due to traffic than last year, because of our improving economy and the lowest gas prices we’ve seen all year.”

The National Safety Council estimates that there will be 436 traffic fatalities for the Thanksgiving holiday weekend in 2013.  The causes of these deaths are more drivers on the road and higher-than-usual-alcohol consumption, along with aggressive driving, distracted or drowsy driving, and speeding.  In 2010, the most recent year for which data is available from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, more people (431) died on Thanksgiving Day itself  than on any other holiday that year.

What can you do to increase your chance of traveling safely this holiday?

•Pack and prepare for the journey the night before your departure.

•Leave early.

•Buckle Up!  Seat belts save lives.

•Accidents and traffic volume are certain to make the journey longer than planned. The navigator can use Google Maps or INRIX to avoid traffic bottlenecks.

•Don’t text or talk on the phone while driving.

•Drive defensively, and stay far away from drivers who are speeding or exhibiting other erratic behavior on the road.

•Leave your road rage at home.

•Rest and stretch periodically, and don’t push yourself to drive when you are drowsy or exhausted.

Thanksgiving is an emotionally charged holiday for many families.  If everyone completes the journey safely, there will be certainly be more reason for thanks.