Don’t be a highway statistic this holiday

Johnson City Press • Nov 27, 2019 at 7:00 AM

Today and Thursday many of you will join millions across the country on the highways in what traditionally is the busiest and most dangerous travel period of the year.

AAA estimates more than 55 million Americans will travel 50 miles or more for Thanksgiving. That figure includes 1.3 million Tennesseans — 1.2 million of whom will be going by automobile.

That’s a lot of cars carrying a lot of precious cargo on our highways.

The National Safety Council reports that 385 people died on U.S. roads over the four-day holiday period in 2018. Thankfully, so to speak, that’s way down from a peak of 623 deaths in 2006. That’s still far too many losses at a time when we should be enjoying the blessings in our lives, not mourning loved ones.

The NSC has a grimly accurate history of projecting highway deaths each year within a margin of error. This year the estimate is 417, with a “90 percent confidence level” ranging from 374 to 463.

Please do your best not to be among that number.

The American Red Cross offers several tips you should consider before hitting the road, including making sure your car is in good condition for a road trip, sharing travel plans with a family member or friend, seeking alternative routes during inclement weather and avoiding such distractions as cell phones. You should also pack an emergency kit in your trunk and make frequent stops if traveling long distances.

And if you do have car trouble, pull off the road as far as possible to avoid being hit by other vehicles.

No one expects to be an accident when embarking on a trip, but we all know the odds increase when there are so many people on the roads, which adds to the stress and distractions.

A well-rested driver is less likely to cause an accident, and keeping any road rage in check is a must.

You can only enjoy this Thanksgiving if your family is intact.

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