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50 million Americans will take to the roads for the long Thanksgiving weekend this year, says the American Automobile Association (AAA). AMR, Mississippi’s busiest ambulance service, urges drivers to put safety first in their holiday trips.

Ryan Wilson, operations manager for AMR says, “Without fail, the number of vehicle crashes spikes every Thanksgiving and all holidays with a huge surge in traffic. Our paramedics and EMTs want everyone to reach Grandma’s house safely and return home without a scratch.”

Wilson advised drivers to:

  • Be sure the vehicle and the drivers are in good condition.

  • Have the vehicle serviced before the trip. Especially check the tires, brakes, windshield wipers, headlights, tail-lights, belts and hoses.

  • Be sure the driver is alert at all times. Drivers should be well-rested before departing.

  • Take frequent breaks. Switch drivers every two hours or less. If all drivers get drowsy, go to a motel and sleep. Do not pull off the road, take a short nap and then resume driving.

  • Schedule the trip so you drive mainly if not totally during daylight hours. Start your trip early enough to avoid rushing to reach your destination. Expect heavy traffic and delays.

  • Stay on interstates and divided four-lane roads all you can. Avoid two-lane roads if possible.

  • Insist that everyone in the vehicle wears safety belts or uses a child safety seat anytime the vehicle is moving, no matter how short the trip. Almost half of those killed in vehicle crashes were not wearing a safety belt.

  • Avoid distractions behind the wheel. Turn cell phones off and put them out of reach.

  • To make your vehicle more visible, drive with headlights on, day and night.

  • Remove items on dashboards and rear view mirrors which may restrict the driver’s view.

  • Holiday traffic often includes big, slow recreational vehicles. Be on the lookout for them, especially on hills and curves.

  • Stay alert for construction zones, stalled vehicles and deer.

  • Impatience can kill. Observe the speed limit. Don’t pass in no-pass zones. Don’t rush through yellow lights to beat the red light.

  • If your vehicle begins to fail, pull off to the road shoulder. Park as far as you can from the traffic. Pulling off at an exit ramp is safer than parking next to the main road.

Designated drivers save lives. Never drink and drive. Remember: A designated driver is someone has drunk zero alcohol, not the person in your group who has drunk the least.



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