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Holiday Prep is More Than the Turkey!

Thanksgiving kicks off the start of a busy holiday season, and more thankful Americans will travel to spend time with friends and family this year. As you head out on the roads to celebrate the Thanksgiving holiday remember to “Buckle Up, Every Seat, Every Time.”

Over Thanksgiving weekend, millions will hit our nation’s roads, eager to spend time with family and friends. It’s one of the busiest travel times of the year, and unfortunately more people on the roadways means the potential for more vehicle crashes.

During the 2016 Thanksgiving weekend (6 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 23, to 5:59 a.m. Monday, Nov. 28), 341 people were killed in motor vehicle crashes nationwide. Tragically, 49% of those killed were not buckled up, representing an increase in seat belt use compared to the same weekend in 2015, when 52% of those killed in traffic crashes were unrestrained.

Whether you’re heading to Grandma’s cottage or a favorite vacation spot to celebrate holidays with family or friends, AAA has simple tips to help make your drive a smooth one, so you can arrive at your destination safely and without incident:

  • Ensure your vehicle is properly maintained. If maintenance is not up to date, have your car and tires inspected before you take a long drive.
  • Map your route in advance and be prepared for busy roads during the most popular times of the year. If possible, consider leaving earlier or later to avoid heavy traffic.
  • Keep anything of value in the trunk or covered storage area.
  • If you’re traveling with children, remind them not to talk to strangers. Go with them on bathroom breaks and give them whistles to be used only if the family gets separated.
  • Have roadside assistance contact information on hand, in case an incident occurs on the road.
  • In case of an emergency, keep a cell phone and charger with you at all times. AAA and many other companies offer smartphone applications that enable motorists to request help without making a phone call.

With a little prep, you can leave the road-trip stress at home and enjoy your holiday with family and friends.

— Lisa Robinson is a senior program manager with the National Safety Council

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