This week, despite the cold, stormy weather expected all around the nation, lots of families in Indiana and Illinois will be bundling up the kids and packing up the vehicles to drive across town, or across the state or country, to spend Thanksgiving this Thursday with loved ones. Sadly, for some folk in the United States, there will be the unexpected tragedy of traffic accidents and serious injuries resulting from car accidents on the roads — it’s a statistical reality.
For instance, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reports that in 2012, there were 416 deaths in traffic accidents over the Thanksgiving holiday. Many of these fatalities were attributed to failure to use seat belts (60% of passenger car and light truck occupants) and surprising to no one, drunk driving caused many of this holiday statistics (42%).
Tips for Staying Safe While Traveling this Thanksgiving Holiday
Here are several things that we all can do for ourselves and our families to keep everyone safe from harm and free to enjoy this Thanksgiving weekend:
1. Wear Your Seat Belts
Everyone in the vehicle should be buckled up; this is especially true for the children.
2. Kids Under 13 Years Old Not in Front Seat
Keep smaller children in the back seat, where they are safer in the event of a crash.
3. Don’t Use Your Phone While Driving
Distracted driving (text, handheld, hands-free) can cause crashes even in the best weather conditions. Put your phone in the glove box if it helps keep you away from the temptation to text or talk.
4. Get Your Car Checked Before You Head Out
Make sure that your car is in good working order before you start your trip. Are your tires properly inflated? Are they still within the age limits of the car maker’s recommendations (old tires can kill). Do you have any car recall issues?
5. Prepare for Bad Weather
Know your route and the weather forecasts. If you are going to be driving through road hazards like snow or rain or sleet, then give yourself extra time to get there. Have emergency items ready if needed: things like flares and flashlights, snacks, water, and blankets are vital if you are stuck or stranded on the road.