By Deborah Hersman
Across the United States families and friends will gather to celebrate Thanksgiving on the fourth Thursday in November. According to AAA, about 38.2 million people, or 90 percent of holiday travelers, plan to drive this Thanksgiving. While we have experienced a decline in traffic fatalities in recent years, more than 30,000 people in the United States and nearly 1.3 million people across the globe perished on the roadways last year.
Today is World Day of Remembrance for Road Traffic Victims. Started in 1993 by victim and nongovernmental organizations, this day commemorates those killed or injured in road crashes. In 2005, the United Nations issued a resolution designating the third Sunday in November for this remembrance and asked Member States and the international community to recognize this day. While we remember those that have perished, at the NTSB we recognize that too many unnecessary fatalities occur on our roads.
Please stay safe on roadways during the busy holiday travel days by minimizing your risks:
Avoid fatigued or drowsy driving: Stay alert behind the wheel by getting plenty of rest before you set out and plan and take breaks.
Don’t drink and drive: Alcohol degrades driving skills and slows reaction times, regardless of an individual’s tolerance. Separate your holiday drinking from your driving.
Keep your eyes on the road: Distracted driving is a major cause of traffic accidents. Just two seconds of distraction time doubles the chances of an accident, so pull over before you use your cell phone or text.
Slow Down: Allow plenty of space between you and the car in front of you and reduce your speed.
Buckle up: Seat belts reduce the risk of fatal injury by 45 percent – please buckle up and make sure that those riding with you are properly restrained.
Enjoy your Thanksgiving holiday.