Thanksgiving weekend is the most dangerous time of the year to be on the road. With increased incidences of impaired driving, greater traffic density and cold weather conditions, Thanksgiving can be an especially dangerous time to drive.
In 2012, 416 people died nationwide during the Thanksgiving weekend in car accidents. No family should end Thanksgiving with the tragedy of losing loved ones from car accidents, and we want to share tips provided by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) to help keep you safe.
- Long meals with the family can create the temptation to overindulge in alcoholic beverages, and some people will make the poor choice of getting behind the wheel. Of the 416 people who died during the 2012 Thanksgiving weekend from car accidents, 42 percent were killed in alcohol-related crashes. To avoid impaired drivers, stay extra vigilant while driving and avoid traveling late at night.
- Ensure your vehicle is in working order and that no parts have been recalled. Recalled tires and vehicles can present a huge danger to families, causing blowout and rollover accidents. Auto parts that have been recalled can be checked through the NHTSA database.
- Always plan your trip out, taking into account weather, road and traffic conditions. Have a plan in the event of a worst-case scenario.
- Travel well-prepared, bringing items such as first aid kits, radios, GPS devices and other equipment. Equipment can help treat injuries and make it possible for authorities to find accident survivors.
- Always wear your seatbelt. In 2012, 60 percent of fatal accidents during the Thanksgiving weekend involved motorists without seatbelts.
Driving during the holidays can take more planning than usual, but it can save lives. Many accidents that occur during the Thanksgiving holiday can be prevented if extra precautions are taken.