Thanksgiving is not only a traffic-filled holiday, it’s also one of the most deadly. In 2012, 764 people lost their lives in car crashes. Christmas and New Year’s, when alcohol is responsible for nearly half of accident fatalities, also have their share of road peril.
To stay safe from those statistics, John Kennedy, executive director of the Driver and Roadway Safety Department of the National Safety Council, offers these tips.
• Always wear your safety belt and have children in properly installed car seats.
• Stay sober or designate a driver.
• Keep your eyes on the road. Let passengers enjoy the scenery and chat on the phone.
• Maintain a safe following distance from the car in front of you.
• Plan your route ahead of time.
• Give your car a winter once-over: Check ignition, brakes, hoses, fan belts, spark plugs, tire air, headlights, battery, and wipers. Carry a shovel, jumper cables, tool kit, and a bag of salt or cat litter for traction.
• Don’t drive early on Saturday morning. “It’s a very hazardous time. A lot of people are driving under the influence or drowsy,” warns Kennedy. And if you can stay in or use public transportation on New Year’s Eve, do it.