Nearly 42 million Americans will take a holiday road trip this Thanksgiving (according to AAA). Thanksgiving weekend, traditionally one of the busiest travel times in America, can also be one of the deadliest.
In 2014, over the Thanksgiving weekend, 45 people died in collisions on California roadways – a 36% increase from the same period in 2013. In addition, the CHP arrested almost 1,000 people for driving under the influence.
The California Highway Patrol will have all available officers on patrol during a Maximum Enforcement Period (MEP) to help avoid tragedies for California motorists. The MEP began Wednesday, Nov. 25 at 6 p.m. and will continue through Sunday, Nov. 29 at 11:59 p.m.
Here are some tips to help you arrive safely to your destination:
Anything that diverts your eyes or attention from the roadway, even for one or two seconds, could result in tragedy. Stay off your phone!
The law is explicit: Driving with a blood alcohol content (BAC) of .08% or more is illegal, but even with a lower BAC a driver may be a hazard and taken to jail.
Prepare for potential inclement weather by leaving early, allowing plenty of time to get your destination. If you’re heading to mountain country or anywhere you may encounter snow, bring chains, a chain tightener tool, and warm waterproof clothing.
Other items which may prove useful: flares, flashlight and strong batteries, small shovel, windshield scraper, blankets, drinking water and snacks.
Check in advance for road conditions by calling (800) 427-7623 or go to http://quickmap.dot.ca.gov/.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) urges “Buckle Up America – Every Trip. Every Time.” Nationwide, more than half the drivers and passengers killed in crashes are not wearing seat belts. The NHTSA estimates that nationally, seat belts saved the lives of 12,854 passenger vehicle occupants in 2013.
“Having a safe Thanksgiving drive this year – and being here to enjoy next Thanksgiving – can be as simple as buckling up,” CHP Commissioner Joe Farrow said.