More than 400 people could lose their lives on the roads this Thanksgiving weekend and the National Safety Council is calling on drivers to be vigilant about safety while traveling during the Thanksgiving holiday period.
“During the holidays, many drivers are more concerned about getting to their destinations quickly than safely,” said Deborah A.P. Hersman, president and CEO of the National Safety Council. “But overlooking common roadway risks can have deadly consequences. Make sure you pay attention and drive defensively so everyone can spend time with friends and family rather than at a hospital.”
The council estimates as many as 437 people may be killed and 50,300 may be seriously injured in car crashes between 6 p.m. on Wednesday, Nov. 23 and 11:59 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 27. That estimated fatality total is 12 percent higher than the average number of fatalities – 391 – that have occurred during the previous six Thanksgiving holiday periods.
National Safety Council data show that 2016 already has been particularly deadly. Motor vehicle deaths were 9 percent higher nationwide through the first six months of the year compared to 2015, and 18 percent higher than the same period in 2014. The increase has prompted the National Safety Council to partner with government, non-profit and advocacy groups to form the Road to Zero Coalition, which is committed to ending roadway fatalities in 30 years.
Tips to help drivers stay safe during Thanksgiving travel include:
- Designate an alcohol- and drug-free driver or arrange alternate transportation
- Get plenty of sleep and take regular breaks to avoid fatigue
- Never use a cell phone behind the wheel, even hands-free
- Do not allow teens to drive with their friends or younger siblings. A single young passenger can increase a teen driver’s fatal crash risk 44 percent.[i]
- Learn about your vehicle’s safety systems and how to use them. MyCarDoesWhat can help drivers understand the ins and outs of features such as adaptive cruise control, blind spot warning systems and backup cameras.