JACKSON ,Miss. (WJTV) — With Thanksgiving just days away, many will hit the highways to travel home to see loved ones. Before you do that, the Mississippi Department of Transportation is reminding you to wear your seatbelt.
“Thanksgiving week is one of the busiest travel times of the year, and unfortunately, that means more vehicle incidents on our roads,” said MDOT Executive Director Melinda McGrath. “This year, nearly 42 million Americans will travel during this holiday. Buckling up is your best defense against injury or death in the event of a crash.”
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reported the national average for seat belt usage rate was 88 percent last year.
MDOT said during the Thanksgiving holiday weekend in 2014, there were 341 people killed in traffic crashes across the nation. About 50 percent of those killed were not buckled up. Statistics show that when seat belts are worn as a front-seat occupant of a passenger car, the risk of fatal injury goes down by 45 percent.
MDOT offers these tips for safe driving:
- Before putting the car in drive, make sure all passengers are securely buckled.
- Be particularly sure to buckle up when traveling at night; statistically, nighttime is deadlier than daytime in terms of seat belt use.
- Eliminate all distractions while driving. That call or text can wait: put 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 is driving as safely.
“Surviving your Thanksgiving drive this year can be as simple as buckling up,” McGrath said. “In the last decade, seat belts saved the lives of more than 100,000 people in the United States.”