While tens of millions of Americans will head out this Thanksgiving to visit their loved ones, we also know that this is the most dangerous time in the year to be on the road. According to three years of National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) crash data analyzed by A Secure Life, there is a 19 percent increase in traffic accidents over the Thanksgiving holiday. Alcohol and speeding were major contributing factors, accounting for 29 and 28 percent of accidents respectively.
Los Angeles also made it to the top five cities that are statistically the most dangerous for Thanksgiving travel – Houston, Los Angeles, Orlando, Atlanta and Greensboro. Overall, Texas, California, Florida, Georgia and North Carolina proved to be the most dangerous states, accounting for more than 35 percent of traffic fatalities. The safest cities statistically for Thanksgiving travel are West Point, Miss., Baton Rouge, La., Lawton, Okla., Clarksburg, W. Va., and Marshall, Texas.
Regardless of where you are going this Thanksgiving, there are a number of steps you can take to make sure you and your family members are safe this holiday season. Here are a few tips to be safe:
- Wear your seatbelt. While this will not actually prevent a crash, it could very well save a life.
- Slow down. Speeding is one of the most common causes of car accidents, period. The chance of a crash nearly triples when you drive faster than surrounding traffic.
- Never driver under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs and don’t ride with someone who is under the influence. If you are planning to drink designate a sober driver to take you home or use public transportation. You could also take a cab or a ridesharing service. There are a number of options.
- Do not drive while distracted. Keep your eyes on the road, hands on the wheel and attention on the act of driving. Even a couple of seconds of distraction could prove devastating.
- Prepare your vehicle for long-distance travel. Check your wipers and fluids and have your radiator and cooling system services. Make sure your tires and brakes are in good working order.
- Leave early so you are not anxious about getting to your destination on time. Listen to the weather reports and traffic conditions to prepare yourself.
- Leave extra room between you and the vehicle ahead.
- Make sure you get at 8 hours or sleep or more before you head out on your road trip. Fatigued or drowsy driving causes a number of crashes during the Thanksgiving weekend.
We wish you and yours a safe and Happy Thanksgiving!