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To Grandmother's house we go: travel safely this Thanksgiving

If you are joining the millions of Americans driving over the river and through the woods this Thanksgiving week, here are some road safety tips from the Johnson County Sheriff's Office, the Kansas Department of Transportation, The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, and the United State Department of Transportation.

Inspect your vehicle. Make sure your windshield wipers are working properly, your tires are properly inflated, and your maintenance is up-to-date.

Pack it up. While the weather is supposed to be beautiful in the KC metro area this Thanksgiving, it's important to prepare if you are driving a long distance. Pack items that can prove useful during an emergency: a flashlight, flares, ice scraper, charged mobile phone, and jumper cables. In the unlikely event that your vehicle is stranded or traffic is at a standstill for some length of time, you should have on hand a blanket, some food and water, and any necessary medications.

Plan your route. KDOT has three free tools that can help you plan your route.

  1. KanDrive KDOT’s traveler information gateway for Kansas and surrounding states, provides essential information you need to plan your trip. Features include camera images, motion camera views, an interactive 511 map of Kansas roads, road conditions and work zones and links to helpful transportation resources, such as Kansas Turnpike information, Kansas Byways, weather information and metro traffic information.
  2. 511 Mobile site The mobile site provides a map, camera and electronic message sign views, road conditions, work zone and event information and links to weather. The site is accessible on multiple platforms, including iPhones, Androids and Windows mobile devices.
  3. 511 Phone  From any phone anytime, travelers may call 5-1-1 from anywhere in Kansas or 1-866-511-KDOT (5368) from anywhere in the U.S. to get route-specific road conditions, work zone information, including detours and closed roads, and travel-related weather information to plan their trips or for updates as they travel.

Take your time. Reduce your speed, allow extra travel time, and increase the distance between your vehicle and the vehicle ahead of you.

Buckle up. No matter where you're sitting, use your seat belt. Children should be buckled correctly in size-appropriate child safety seats. Children under age 13 should ride in the back seat.

Focus. Drive sober and pay attention. Drunk and distracted driving are 100 percent preventable behaviors that all too often end in tragedy. If you're behind the wheel, please stay focused; avoid distractions such as or texting talking on the phone.

Watch for deer. This is the time of year for deer to be on the move. If you do hit a deer, follow these steps:

  1. Call 9-1-1 even if you don't think you are hurt.
  2. If your car is drivable, remove it from the lane of traffic. If your car is not drivable, turn your emergency flashers on.
  3. Don't get out of your car. Stay in your vehicle till officers arrive.