November 27, 2013 | Vol. 94, No. 279

Take steps to make holiday travel safer

The season of holiday travel is upon us and officials are offering wise words of caution as increased traffic on roadways often brings more accidents. Add a few drinks from the party and/or some bad weather and havoc can ensue, often ending in tragedy.

The Michigan State Police, among other organizations, are urging motorists to buckle up and designate a sober driver.

“Motorists will soon be flocking to the roadways to visit with family and friends for Thanksgiving celebrations. The combination of increased traffic, deer on the move and the state’s unpredictable late November weather can be a recipe for a bad holiday,” said Michael Prince, the director of MSP’s Office of Highway Safety Planning.

While accidents will always happen, and an increased number of vehicles on the road over the next few days will certainly improve the odds of any two of them bumping into each other, there are ways to help make this a safe holiday season.

Start with buckling your seat belt. According to the OHSP, it will reduce your risk of death or serious injury by 45 percent. Small children should be sitting in the back seat where it’s safer.

Next, turn your lights on, even during the day. The sooner oncoming traffic or those looking to turn on to the highway see you, the better.

If you’ve been drinking, don’t get behind the wheel. If someone you know has been drinking, don’t let them drive. Take their keys, give them a ride or just let them sleep it off.

Finally, be aware of road conditions and slow down.

“Thanksgiving is a special time to celebrate with friends and family, but it should be done responsibly,” said Prince. “Buckling up and making the decision not to drive after drinking could save your life and the lives of others.”

We couldn’t agree more.