3 Common Thanksgiving Fails and How to Avoid Them

Between the traveling, the cooking, the eating, and the awkward run-ins with Aunt Sylvia, there’s a whole lot of room for things to go wrong on Thanksgiving.

Luckily, we can help. Have a Thanksgiving problem? Here are some simple tips for avoid 3 very common Thanksgiving fails.

1. Flammable fail

If you’re hosting Thanksgiving dinner this year, you’re going to have a lot on your plate (pun intended). The last thing you need? A cooking fire. Follow these tips to avoid disaster:

  • Most cooking fires are the result of unattended cooking. While there are always distractions when hosting (guests arriving, appetizers to serve), don’t walk away from a stove or appliance in use.
  • Keep a fire extinguisher handy in your kitchen and ensure everyone in your family knows how to use it.
  • Avoid wearing loose-fitting clothing while cooking since the fabric can ignite. And be especially careful of your sleeves — make sure they’re short or tightly rolled.

Need more tips? Get the full rundown on Thanksgiving safety.

2. Drunken fail

Well, it’s not so much the drunkenness that’s the issue. It’s driving that could be a problem. (And waiting out your buzz may not be the best solution.) The answer? A designated driver (DD)! (Or, ya know, to drink less.)

Here are 3 of the best qualities in a DD:

  • A DD knows how to drive and is licensed to do so
  • Your DD should have a great sense of humor
  • Patience is a key characteristic for a successful DD

Think you or someone you know fits the bill? Check out the top 5 traits of a designated driver. Thanksgiving is the most dangerous day on the road, so please don’t drink and drive! Stay safe, everyone.

3. Conversation fail

Have you ever endured a Thanksgiving lull? It’s one of those lapses in conversation that can be attributed to food euphoria mixed with a dash of unfiltered political banter. One second everyone’s laughing, and the next, the entire group’s taking a long drink of wine, eyes to the ceiling. You know what I’m talking about.

Guess what? We can help. Take our Thanksgiving quiz and be ready with a titillating Turkey Day tidbit  when the inevitable silence rolls around. Because who doesn’t love a little bit of trivia?

If you can avoid these Thanksgiving pitfalls …

You’ll have much to be grateful for. From all of us at Esurance, have a very happy Thanksgiving.

Car Horn Etiquette: The Dos and Don’ts of Honking Your Horn

As we head into the holiday season, a few things are almost guaranteed: cooler weather, busy schedules, and serious traffic.

Last year, over 38 million people traveled by car over the Thanksgiving holiday weekend. And with the same influx of vehicles on their way to grandmother’s house (or Black Friday sales) predicted for this year, you’re likely to encounter more car horns than usual.

Car horns: Noisy nuisance or driving essential?

When used responsibly, car horns should notify drivers of danger, helping to prevent accidents and keep everyone on the road safer.

But that’s only when used appropriately.

When used “inappropriately” or incessantly , car horns are not only irritating, they can be distracting and dangerous as well. For example, if you’re busy honking at a driver who’s moving too slowly, you’re probably not paying close attention to the road. Not to mention the fact that the sound of a car horn can be jarring and you don’t want to unnecessarily disrupt anybody operating a 5,000-lb metal box on wheels, unless it’s to avoid some sort of danger.

Car horn etiquette

Before you take to the road this holiday season, here are a few dos and don’ts of using your horn.

  • Do use your car horn to let a driver know they’re fading into your lane.
  • Do give a quick beep if you see a pedestrian unknowingly walking into a dangerous traffic situation. For instance, if a car’s reversing out of a parking spot and a pedestrian’s walking straight into their path, it’s ok to give a quick honk to keep both parties safe.
  • Don’t honk at pedestrians who are lollygagging while crossing the street. Yes, it can be annoying. And yes, you might be 5 hours into a car ride where your copilot has insisted on belting out an endless stream of show tunes. But still, don’t do it. As the California Department of Motor Vehicles states, drivers should not use their horn “to honk at pedestrians, bicyclists, or motorcyclists unless necessary to avoid a collision. Remember that your horn sounds much louder outside a vehicle.”
  • Do be a patient and considerate driver. Honking your horn in a bumper-to-bumper traffic jam won’t do you much good anyway. Your car horn should be used as a tool to avoid danger, not express anger (get a stress ball for that).
  • Don’t immediately start honking if the car in front of you doesn’t accelerate as soon as the light turns green. You might not be able to see what’s happening on the road ahead and you might startle them and cause an accident.
  • Do know your local car horn laws. In New York City, for example, drivers who use their horn in any situation that’s not an “emergency” can be cited and fined $350. While these tickets aren’t widely issued (which explains the endless honking in Times Square), it’s good to know (and abide by) your local driving laws.

Have a safe and happy holiday season

The holidays are a lot more enjoyable when you make it to your destination safely and without too much unnecessary stress. In addition to being mindful of your honking habits, be sure to take your time, pay attention, and maybe give yourself a 10-minute cushion to avoid rushing on the roadway.

If that’s not enough, find out how you can channel your inner Buddha to help ease holiday (or everyday) road rage.

Thanksgiving Day Driving: This One Simple Tip Could Keep You Alive

Thanksgiving is fast approaching, and many of us are making plans to reunite with family and friends. Once together, we’ll eat disturbing amounts of turkey, enjoy holiday libations, and celebrate what we’re thankful for. Thanksgiving can be a great time to relax, but it can also be stressful. Really stressful. And when all that stress follows you into the car, traveling can become dangerous.

Thanksgiving Day driving is dangerous

Thanksgiving is the most deadly driving day of the year. According to the U.S. Department of Transportation, approximately 91 percent of this year’s travelers will be using their cars to reach their destinations. And unfortunately, some of them will never make it. This is a tragic fact, but what’s more tragic is that many of these lives could easily be spared if everyone buckled up.

Buckling your seat belt is the safest thing you’ll ever do while traveling in your car. If you’re not convinced, know this: according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, in 2012, 21,667 people were killed in traffic crashes. And more than 60 percent of those could have been saved had they been wearing their seat belts. Every time you get in a car to go somewhere, whether it’s 2 miles to the grocery store or 1,000 miles to visit family, you should buckle up.

Seat belts aren’t just for the driver — the more the merrier 

Many of us will be traveling with our loved ones only to then travel even farther and visit even more loved ones. That’s a whole lot of cars full of people we love. If only the driver buckles up, everyone else is at risk of being ejected or hitting the windshield in the event of a crash. The statistics on surviving these scenarios are grim — 79 percent of people fully ejected are killed.

A couple of additional Thanksgiving driving tips 

  • Don’t drink and drive. Hopefully this one’s obvious. Drinking and driving is extremely dangerous and puts your life, the lives of your passengers, and the lives of other drivers and pedestrians in danger. So think twice about starting that autumnal cocktail or ale before you head home. For more convincing, check out the total price tag of a DUI.
  • Avoid distractions. Your homemade gravy is sliding around in the trunk, your wife spilled the cranberry sauce on her dress, and your kids are arguing over who gets the first slice of pumpkin pie. You feel the need to sort it all out. Don’t (or pull over to a safe spot before you do). Here are 6 simple tips for traveling safely with kids.

So this Thanksgiving, feast away on that turkey, but protect your giblets — be safe and buckle up!

Helpful holiday tips

In case you encounter winter weather during your Thanksgiving travels, you’ll want to be prepared. This guide will help refresh your memory of the best winter driving tips.

Winterize your home:  avoid these 6 extremely unpleasant scenarios.

Related link

Seat belts save lives, everyone knows that. However, the history of the seat belt is a hotly contested issue. This article should clear it up for everyone.

How Much Do You Know About Thanksgiving? (Quiz)

It’s that time of year again. Time to stuff ourselves full of festive food that’s been stuffed with, um … more food. And more importantly, time to gather with family and friends to celebrate the things we’re thankful for.

Everyone loves Thanksgiving, but most probably never question how much they actually know about it. From history to football to driving safety, this quiz has it all … test your smarts before the tryptophan kicks in.

Helpful holiday tips

Want to get rid of your holiday stress? Check out our ultimate holiday survival guide, and give yourself the edge over Santa this season.

Winter is deer mating season — yikes! Learn the best ways to avoid a costly encounter with these lovebirds.

Have you ever wondered why it’s called Black Friday? How did all this mayhem start?

Why We Should Embrace Roundabouts

Full disclosure: I love roundabouts. I find them safer and smarter than typical intersections. Why, just approaching one from a distance, I get the sort of tingly anticipation that can only come from efficient civil engineering.

But does the rest of the U.S. feel the same? Not quite. While modern roundabouts (not to be confused with older traffic circles) are slowly gaining popularity, we only have about 3,500 from coast to coast. France, which fits inside Texas alone, leads the world with over 30,000.

For many people, this disparity probably isn’t too alarming. But should it be?

5 awesome benefits of roundabouts

There’s no point beating around the bush when it comes to our roundabout scarcity: studies show that by favoring archaic intersections, we’re missing out on some seriously improved roads.

Here are 5 good reasons we should start thinking outside the box … and inside the circle.

1. Fewer accidents

According to the Federal Highway Administration, converting controlled intersections to roundabouts can lower severe/fatal accident risk by roughly 80 percent and decrease overall accident risk by roughly 45 percent!

There are a few ways roundabouts make such a difference:

  • Drivers must decelerate before entering, which neutralizes the urge to beat out yellow lights by speeding.
  • With roundabouts, you can also say goodbye to the dangerous chore that is turning left across fast-approaching traffic. (Imagine never having to play the “How many cars can squeeze through this red arrow?” game again. Your blood pressure probably dropped just thinking about it.)
  • With cars going only one direction, there are simply fewer opportunities for collisions.

2. Less severe accidents

Another downfall of traditional intersections is the type of accidents they enable, such as high-speed, head-on collisions and T-bone crashes. Within roundabouts, however, spots where cars are likely to collide are minimal and tend to be parallel in alignment, meaning the sorts of severe accidents mentioned above are all but eliminated. Plus, roundabouts usually slope against the direction of traffic, helping ensure that any accidents that do occur happen at low speeds.

3. Faster travel

Because you must slow down before entering roundabouts, there’s a misconception that they slow down traffic altogether. Actually, while the average speed through the intersection is slower with roundabouts (again, part of the safety thing), statistics show they make overall travel times significantly faster. See, where most intersections struggle with bottlenecking, congestion, meaningless waits, and other general misery, roundabouts are designed to keep traffic flowing like a steady river and cut out the long delays we hate.

4. More cost-efficient

The cost to maintain roundabouts is a fraction of that for traffic signals. According to a study from the Washington State Department of Transportation (DOT), using roundabouts could save up to $10,000 worth of electricity and upkeep per year, per intersection. (Is that a taxpayer openly weeping with joy, I hear?)

Savings could also extend to the gas pump. One study from the Minnesota DOT showed that decreased idling in roundabouts can cut down fuel consumption by 30 percent or more.

5. Greener

Cutting out idling and stop-start traffic doesn’t just green up your wallet, but the entire planet. Roundabouts have been shown to produce significantly fewer emissions than traditional intersections and help improve air quality.

And, as a cherry on top of this driving sundae, communities can also use the centers of roundabouts for planting gardens to both beautify and invigorate the environment.

How to use a roundabout (and why so many cities aren’t)

With all the benefits of roundabouts, you might be wondering, “So why aren’t I using one right now, my giddy laughter echoing on a smogless, traffic-free breeze?”

Great question! The main reason roundabouts aren’t more prevalent is that, simply put, U.S. drivers are woefully unfamiliar with them. Without the right knowledge, a busy roundabout seems a tad overwhelming, and that kind of impression doesn’t exactly urge you to petition your government to build more.

The good news is, learning how to use a roundabout’s easier than you might think.

  • As you get close, slow down and look to your left for oncoming cars, also keeping an eye out for pedestrians.
  • Yield the right of way to any cars already using the circle.
  • If the road’s clear, you do not need to stop before entering.
  • Drive counterclockwise around the center island.
  • Continue traveling around the island until arriving at your exit street. Use signal to indicate your turn, just as you normally would.
  • For multilane roundabouts, choose your lane before entering (there should be signs to help you out). Typically, the right lane’s best if you plan on turning right or going straight. The left lane’s for going straight or turning left. Once you’re in the roundabout, stay in your lane and signal your exit, just as you would in a single-lane circle.

Related driving tips

If you think roundabouts are crazy, try driving on the “wrong” side of the road!
Check out these 5 tips for driving on the left.

Traveling abroad?
Find out which hand gestures could get you in serious trouble overseas.

Overseas or stateside, it pays to keep your cool.
Here are 4 ways to tell if you’re an aggressive driver. 

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