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What To Do When Bad Weather Meets The Heaviest Travel Day Of The Year

By Molly Daly

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) --- On the heaviest travel day of the year, the weather outside will be frightful. Triple A has some tips on how to make Thanksgiving travel and shopping safe.

Triple A Mid-Atlantic's Jim Lardear says if you can get the driving done before the weather turns, do so. But that's not always possible.

"Is it going to be easier for you to get to your destination on Thursday, rather than fighting all the traffic and snow and ice on Wednesday?" he said.

If you absolutely have to travel Wednesday, take your time.

"You're much more likely to lose control of your vehicle when the roads are wet and icy when you're traveling at a high rate of speed," Lardear cautioned.

He suggests you give yourself plenty of time, and room. "Let the following distance jump up to about eight seconds between you and the car in front of you."

And if you're doing more than 25 miles an hour and need to avoid a collision, Lardear says it's generally smarter to steer out of the situation than brake.

"Less distance is required to steer around an object than it would be to brake to a stop," he said. "In slick conditions, like we might see on Wednesday, sudden braking can lead to loss of vehicle control. The best way to regain control of your vehicle in a skid is to continue to look where you want to go. Steer in the direction you want the front of your vehicle to go."

After you've tucked into the turkey, keep safety in mind when you shop. Lardear says that with the tight spaces and limited sightlines, parking lots and garages pose a lot of challenges.

"20% of all vehicle collisions that result in some sort of damage claims occur in a parking lot," he said.

He recommends you park facing out, so you can just drive away when the shopping's done, without having to back up. Reversing your vehicle can be tricky, especially when you're tired from lack of sleep and bargain hunting. Once you've parked, Lardear says to keep your valuables concealed, and your eyes peeled.

"The cars coming in are also doing the same thing that you just were," he said. "They're looking for the best parking space they can find. They might be more interested in finding a parking space than looking out for pedestrians in the parking lot."

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