Drive Safely This ThanksgivingThanksgiving is right around the corner. It’s a time when many of us gather with our families, eating great food, drinking great beverages, reminding ourselves of all we have to be thankful for. From the turkey to the pie, from the eggnog to the Tom & Jerrys, we spend a day of excess to recognize and celebrate our good fortune. As benign (and beneficial) as all of this seems, it also makes for one of the most dangerous days of the year to drive.

Because everyone has the same idea, Thanksgiving is one of the busiest travel times of the year. More cars on the road means a higher risk of collisions. Add sub-optimal weather conditions (or often inclement weather), fatigue and increased alcohol consumption, and it’s a recipe for disaster.

In 2012, 416 motorists were killed in traffic accidents during the Thanksgiving holiday weekend in the United States, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. A full 60 percent of those fatalities were occupants of passenger vehicles who were not wearing seatbelts, and 42 percent of those were killed in crashes that involved someone driving under the influence of alcohol with a blood alcohol content of 0.08 BAC or higher.

Here in Louisiana, eight people died in traffic collisions over the Thanksgiving weekend in 2012.

While most areas increase the presence of law enforcement during these holidays to try to prevent these senseless deaths, there are a few things you can do to lower your risk of a car accident.

Buckle up

Whether you’re the driver or a passenger, be sure to fasten your seatbelt whenever you’re in an automobile. This is one of the best ways to prevent injury or death in the case of a car crash.

Alcohol decreases your coordination and reaction time, and impairs your judgment, dramatically increasing your risk of a crash. If you plan to drink over the holiday weekend, make arrangements to stay the night, or select a designated driver to get you home safely.

Avoid distraction

Distracted driving includes anything that pulls your attention away from driving. This could be cell phone use, eating, drinking, texting, or even fussing with the radio. When you’re behind the wheel, make sure nothing is drawing your attention away from the road.

Keep clear of large trucks and buses

Crashes are more likely to occur in the area around large trucks and buses, so you should give them plenty of room to maneuver. Stay out of their blind spots and try not to follow too closely or make erratic lane changes. Large vehicles can’t react very quickly and should be given plenty of space.

Drive at a speed appropriate for weather conditions

Roads can get wet or icy, rain and snow can be visual impediments, and high wind can affect your ability to steer. Keep the weather in mind as you travel, and slow down if necessary.

All of us at Jeff Davis Insurance wish you a wonderful (and safe) Thanksgiving.

Drive Safely This Thanksgiving