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Stay Safe on the Roads this Thanksgiving Weekend

By Jason R. Markle, Esq.

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According to AAA Southern New England, 43.6 million Americans are projected to travel 50 miles or more during the Thanksgiving holiday weekend. Of that number, about 90% are expected to travel by car. Regionally, it is estimated that 13.3% of New Englanders will travel during the Thanksgiving holiday weekend. And according to a recent study by The University of Alabama Center for Advanced Public Safety, this increased traffic volume combined with typical Thanksgiving driving patterns brings a significantly greater chance of fatal crashes.
Factors cited by the study include more vehicles on the road at night, more parties, more drivers on unfamiliar roads, more drunk drivers, more tired drivers and more distracted drivers. To help you stay safe during this long holiday weekend, here is a quick list of helpful tips:
 
Seat Belts: During the 2010 Thanksgiving holiday period, 337 people were killed in motor vehicle accidents nationwide. Among those fatalities, 55 percent were not wearing seat belts. Stay safe, wear your seat belt and insist that others in your car do the same.

Distracted Driving: Distracted drivers are now the leading cause of car accidents in the United States. To combat this growing problem, Massachusetts recently enacted the Safe Driving Law, which attempts to crack down on distracted driving. Distracted driving is defined as driving while engaged in other activities, including texting, talking on the phone, eating and reading. According to AAA, anywhere between 25% and 50% of all car accidents in the United States are caused by distracted driving. With everyone focused on getting home to see family this holiday weekend, please hang up the phone and focus on the road to help stay safe.

Speeding: Speeding is a major cause of car accidents and car accident fatalities in the United States. Everyone is in a hurry to get to their Thanksgiving dinner on time, but the few seconds that you may save is not worth putting yourself and others at risk. Stay safe and avoid being ticketed on your way home to see your family.

Aggressive Driving: Aggressive driving has become a serious problem on our roadways and has become a major cause of car accidents. The U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration defines aggressive driving as a progression of unlawful driving acts such as excessive lane changing, improper passing, tailgaiting and speeding. Police throughout Massachusetts and New England will be on the lookout for aggressive driving. Stay safe and steer clear of “road ragers.”  Challenging an aggressive driver for position is a dangerous and unnecessary way to try to get to your destination sooner.

Avoid or Be Cautious of the Wednesday and Sunday Rushes: The highest volume for travel during the Thanksgiving holiday period will be on Wednesday and Sunday. According to AAA, 45% of travelers plan to leave on Wednesday, while 36% plan to return home on Sunday. If you plan on traveling on Wednesday or Sunday, get a good night’s rest, plan ahead and leave yourself plenty of time to make it to your destination.

Prepare Before You Drive: Map your route; fill your gas tank; check your tire pressure, lights and wiper blades. These simple steps can make sure that you get to your destination safely and on time.

Keches Law Group, P.C. wishes you a safe and happy Thanksgiving weekend!