With more drivers typically on the road and often hazardous weather conditions to drive in, an extra focus on safety is what helps keep our job sites safe every Thanksgiving. But this year we find ourselves emphasizing safety even more, even though it now includes a new definition of what safety means.
Thanksgiving celebrations are sure to look a bit different in Ohio households and in homes nationwide in 2020 as we continue to live with COVID-19 in our midst. We expect that more of us will be eating separately, cheering on our favorite football teams playing in empty stadiums, and staying off the road.
A survey by research firm Morning Consult confirms our assumptions. Their research found that about half of American families say they will cancel holiday get-togethers, shifting from in-person celebrations to virtual. Seventy-five percent of those polled say they don’t plan to travel for or around the Thanksgiving holiday in particular. With less travel expected and more video calls planned, this year’s message for safety has shifted slightly. If you still plan to travel to your nearby relatives, we ask that you do so safely, both on the road and in your loved ones’ homes.
First, it’s important to remember our safety tips that are fit for every travel occasion.
Before you hit the road to your relatives, ready yourself for a safer trip:
- Prepare your vehicle for the long journey by checking things like windshield wipers and wiper fluids.
- Pack an emergency kit to have at the ready.
- Plan your route so you know what’s coming up even when drivers make unexpected actions.
When you’re on the road, don’t be the one to make unsafe moves:
- Avoid cutting in front of large trucks.
- Keep your eyes on the road, not on your cell phone, and stay mindful of all blind spots, both others’ and your own.
- Be a defensive driver, staying aware of vehicles ahead of you and behind you.
When it comes to roadside safety, following these recommendations can be a matter of life and death. In fact, according to Traffic Safety Marketing, the Thanksgiving holiday, which is one of the busiest travel times of the year, has a history of roadway accidents. In 2017, there were 365 passenger vehicle occupants killed in vehicle crashes across the nation over the Thanksgiving holiday.
With these roadway tips in mind, it’s important to plan for a safe visit once you arrive at your destination. Now that we know more about how the virus is spread, medical experts recommend using caution when attending family gatherings. The good news is that they don’t rule them out completely. Family members who don’t normally live together should adhere to guidelines regarding masks and social distancing. But, families with elderly individuals or those with compromised immune systems should skip the festivities altogether.
If you have relatives coming in from another state, be sure to check if a self-quarantine is recommended. The Ohio Department of Health has a recommendation in place for those traveling from states reporting positive testing rates of 15% or higher for COVID-19.
It goes without saying that if a fever or other symptoms including cough, difficulty breathing, fatigue, muscle or body aches, headache, loss of taste or smell, sore throat, congestion or runny nose, nausea or vomiting, or diarrhea arise, call your medical provider.
To keep all Ohioans safe, be mindful of maintaining proper social distance and hand washing in every part of your travels, from the mode of transportation to activities. Visit Ohio’s Department of Health’s website here for the most up-to-date information on travel and self-quarantining recommendations.
We hope you all have a safe Thanksgiving holiday, no matter how or where you celebrate.