Thanksgiving Holiday Travel Safety
While we cannot offer any suggestions on surviving your family squabbles over politics at the dinner table, we can offer some driving safety tips for the Thanksgiving holiday travel.
The National Safety Council publishes a Holiday Period Traffic Fatality Estimate which seems a bit grim during a holiday celebrating our blessings. If you travel via highway over the Thanksgiving holiday weekend, you are without a doubt very thankful when you successfully arrive at your destination. Thanksgiving is one of the busiest highway travel holidays of the year and it officially launches the end of year holiday travel period that does not end until the New Year.
The NSC estimates there will be between 383-461 traffic fatalities in the U.S. Nonfatal injures serious enough to consult a medical professional are estimated at about 48,500 with a range of 44,100 to 53,100. The NSC examined fatality rates over the last sixe months among other variables. Disturbingly, the fatality rate has remained high since 2011. In 2016, there were 428 fatal crashes over the holiday period.
The official counting period begins at 6 p.m. on Wednesday, November 22 and ends at 11:59 on Sunday, November 26, 2017.
Road Safety Tips
AAA is forecasting more than 51 million Americans will travel more than 50 miles this Thanksgiving weekend, making it one of the highest travel volume in over a decade. While you may not be able to avoid dinner political arguments with family, we can offer some road safety travel tipso:
- Buckle Up- a seat belt will not prevent a collision, but it will save a life
- Put Your Phone Down- Don’t be tempted to text and drive or use social media while driving. In many areas, distracted driving can earn you a citation.
- Slow Down- Chances of a crash nearly triples when driving faster than surrounding traffic.
- Do Not Drive Impaired: Driving is a responsibility and fellow road travelers are trusting in you being attentive, safe, and sober and able to make responsible decisions
- Keep Your Eyes on the Road- Distracted driving is a major cause of traffic crashes and one of the leading causes of death among teenagers
- Do Not Cut in Front of Large Trucks-Large trucks are heavy and take longer to stop, so avoid cutting them off.
- Prepare Your Vehicle for Long Distance Travel- The vehicle made need maintenance and the driver needs plenty of rest and hydration
- Leave early to avoid risks. Leaving early to reduce anxiety about arriving late reduces the risk of a crash
- Be Aware of the Vehicle in Front of You- leave extra room between you and the vehicle ahead.
Buckle Up–Seat Belts Save Lives
Studies have found that seat belts, when used, are 45% effective in preventing fatalities among front seat passengers. The Missouri State Highway Patrol urges and reminders motorist of the importance of wearing seat belts. State troopers are the individuals that work the most horrific of motor vehicle crashes and they see the day-to-day road causalities, thus making them safety experts to a certain degree. They recommend doing two things—wear your seatbelt and do not drive impaired.
Alcohol Related Traffic Fatalities
According to NCS historical data, more than one-third of Thanksgiving Day holiday period fatalities involve alcohol-impaired drivers. Since the Wednesday(Thanksgiving Eve) before is known for high volumes of travel and alcohol consumption, the NCS is warning drivers to particularly vigilant at the start of the holiday period. The NCS advocates for states to take action to reduce residents’ risks when it comes to road safety. They encourage states to institute state sobriety checkpoints, require ignition interlocks for first-time and repeat offenders and ban open containers as well as revoking licenses for more than 90 days for driver with BAC levels above.08 or those who refuse the test.
These fatalities and serious injuries due to alcohol-related crashes are preventable. Most of us have been touched in one way or the other by a drunk driver.
Designated sober drivers are much appreciated during the holiday time and every other night involving merriment. Be sure that your designated driver is SOBER and not just the “least drunk” of the group.
Take advantage of cabs and other transportation such as Uber and Lyft. Some travel organizations like AAA offer special offers during the holidays. The important thing is to have a plan for your safe transportation home if you are going to be partaking of alcohol.
Distracted Driving, Increasingly High Fatality Rates
Distracted driving, even in Black Friday shopper parking lots, increases the likelihood of crashes that cause injury as well as fatal crashes. Avoid using your phone while driving. If you are getting directions, put your phone on audio mode so that you can hear the directions without looking at your phone. Distraction due to using one’s smartphone has quickly become one of the most common causes for serious and fatal crashes.
If You’re Involved in a Motor Vehicle Collision………..
If you are involved in a car collision, call the authorities no matter how serious or minor. Failure to call the police is usually the first mistake a person can make. Visit the 5 Mistakes To Avoid After a Car Accident in Missouri to know the pitfalls that can avoided if you are faced with a collision. Also, download our free phone app. Being prepared does not jinx you just as developing a fire escape plan does not increase the likelihood that you will have a house fire.
Our attorneys are available seven days a week for free, confidential consultations.
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ATA Serves up Safe Driving Tips for Thanksgiving Travel, American Trucking Associations, 11/20/17
Smith, S. 11/17/17, Let’s Be Thankful for Safe Drivers This Thanksgiving Weekend. EHS Today.