Safe driving tips for this Thanksgiving holiday - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

Safe driving tips for this Thanksgiving holiday

(Photo source: Mississippi Department of Transportation) (Photo source: Mississippi Department of Transportation)
SOUTH MISSISSIPPI (WLOX) -

Every year, millions of Americans hit the nation’s highways during the holidays to spend time with loved ones. More than 40 million motorists are expected to travel on the road over this Thanksgiving holiday.

The long Thanksgiving holiday weekend is one of the busiest and most dangerous times to be on the road. To protect yourself and your family, the Mississippi Department of Transportation wants to remind you to buckle up and be vigilant while you’re on the road.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, the national average for seat belt usage was 87 percent in 2014. Mississippi fell well below that average with just 78.3 percent of motorists buckling up.

Last year, the Mississippi Highway Patrol investigated 179 crashes throughout the state. That number includes three fatalities.

To keep drivers and passengers safe, MHP will be stepping up patrols for its 2015 Thanksgiving Holiday Travel Enforcement Period.

Starting Wednesday at 6 p.m., MHP troopers will hit the highways and interstate system in force to crack down on careless and reckless driving. Troopers will also be setting up safety checkpoints to enforce seat belt and child restraint laws while identifying and removing impaired drivers from the roadways.

The MHP 2015 Thanksgiving Holiday Travel Enforcement Period will end Sunday at midnight.

Here are some tips from MDOT to help keep you safe while you travel over this Thanksgiving holiday:

· Before putting the car in drive, make sure that you and all your passengers are securely buckled.

· Be particularly sure to buckle up when you’re traveling at night; statistically, nighttime is deadlier than daytime in terms of seat belt use.

· Eliminate all distractions while you drive. That call or text can wait; put your safety first. 

· Don’t speed.  Slow down and be mindful of construction work zones and animals darting across the roadways.

· Be aware of other drivers; don’t assume that everyone else is driving as safely as you.

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