The National Safety Council (NSC), America’s leading nonprofit safety advocate, is calling on everyone planning to travel to celebrate Thanksgiving with loved ones to practice safe, responsible driving. Roadways are becoming more dangerous; NSC estimates more than 21,400 people may have died on the roads through the first six months of 2021, a 16% increase from the previous year. Over this year’s Thanksgiving holiday period, which begins Wednesday evening at 6 p.m. and concludes Sunday, Nov. 28 at 11:59 p.m., estimates show more than 500 people may die on U.S. roads. This is the highest projection of roadway deaths during the Thanksgiving holiday since 2007.
“Traffic fatalities continue to increase at devastating rates,” said Mark Chung, NSC vice president, roadway practice. “It’s absolutely vital that anyone driving during the Thanksgiving holiday period practice safe, responsible driving behaviors because the good news is that losing lives on our roadways is preventable. Please do your part: prepare before traveling, buckle up, slow down, put phones away and drive unimpaired; it can make all the difference.”
NSC calls on all drivers to prevent crashes and save lives this Thanksgiving by practicing the following:
- Prepare before you go: Before hitting the road, make sure your car is safe for driving. Vehicle owners should check the oil, put air in the tires, and check for and repair open recalls. Visit ChecktoProtect.org to see if your vehicle has an open recall, and get it repaired for free. As the weather gets colder, also prepare for winter driving.
- Buckle up: Seat belts are estimated to have saved 374,276 lives since 1975. Buckle up, while also making sure you have appropriate car seats installed correctly.
- Drive distraction-free: Thousands have died in crashes involving cell phone use. Put your phones away and #JustDrive.
- Slow down: Speeding is a factor in more than a quarter of all traffic fatalities. Drive the speed limit and do not exceed it. Be sure to pay attention to those walking and biking in order to keep all road users safe.
Designate a sober driver or arrange alternate transportation: Alcohol is only one cause of impaired driving. Drugs, including opioids, marijuana and some over-the-counter medicines, can cause drowsiness, alter visual functions and affect mental judgement and motor skills.
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