The air is crisp, the leaves are falling and the time of turkeys and thankfulness, family and friends is quickly approaching.
This Thanksgiving holiday weekend, motorists across the state will hit the roads, eager to spend time with loved ones. It’s one of the busiest travel times of the year, and unfortunately, that means more crashes. Whether you’re traveling across town or across the country, the Mississippi Department of Transportation reminds all drivers that it’s always essential to wear your seat belt.
Buckling up provides your best defense against injury or death in a crash. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration estimates seat belts saved the lives of 12,174 passenger vehicle occupants ages five and older in 2012. However, if everyone had worn their seat belts on every trip that year, an additional 3,031 lives could have been saved. When you wear your seat belt as a front-seat occupant of a passenger car, your risk of fatal injury goes down by 45 percent.
Make this Thanksgiving different from years past. During the Thanksgiving holiday weekend in 2012, over 300 people were killed in traffic crashes across the nation. Tragically, 60 percent of those killed were not buckled up, representing a decline in seat belt use compared to the same weekend in 2011, when 51 percent of those killed in traffic crashes were unrestrained.
No matter your Thanksgiving destination, safety is the theme of this holiday season. MDOT offers these tips for safe driving this Thanksgiving:
- Don’t drive distracted; concentrate on the road and your surroundings. That text, call or email can wait, it’s not worth it.
- Drive sober. Designate a sober driver or make a plan to get home safely if you plan to drink.
- Don’t speed. Slow down and be mindful of construction work zones and animals darting across the roadways.
- Be aware of other drivers. Don’t assume that everyone else is driving as safely as you.
Surviving your Thanksgiving drive this year—and making it to next Thanksgiving—can be as simple as buckling up. In the last decade, seat belts saved the lives of more 100,000 people in the United States. Those people are thankful they wore their seat belts. The most important thing is to drive safely this Thanksgiving, and enjoy your holiday with family and friends.
Remember, “Buckle Up: Every Drive, Every Time.”