Traditionally, Thanksgiving is a joyous time to share with family and friends. Unfortunately, on our nation’s highways, the celebration can turn into tragedy. That is why the Rhode Island Department of Transportation (RIDOT) and AAA of Southern New England are joining the national efforts to encourage safe and healthy driving throughout the holiday season.
“This Thanksgiving, and throughout the year, we urge motorists to drive carefully, obey speed limits, designate a sober driver, and to always wear a seat belt,” said RIDOT Director Michael P. Lewis.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), regular seat belt use is the single most effective way to protect people and reduce fatalities in motor vehicle crashes. When lap and shoulder belts are used properly, the risk of fatal injury is reduced by nearly half.
“AAA’s annual Thanksgiving travel survey indicates that over 41 million Americans will travel over 50 miles away from home this holiday weekend,” said Lloyd P. Albert, AAA Southern New England Senior Vice President of Public and Government Affairs. “To make the holiday a safe one for all concerned, drive at a safe speed, leave plenty of time to get to your destination, and always use your safety belt,” he added.
Lewis reminded motorists to take these simple precautions during the holiday season:
• Plan ahead. If alcohol will be included in the festivities, designate a driver before you go out, call a cab or, if it is a home party, invite the guests to stay over. Don’t drink and drive. • If someone is impaired and won’t turn over the keys or if you see a drunk driver on the highways, pull over and dial *77 or 911. The call can be anonymous and it can save a life. • Always wear your seat belt, every trip, every time, no matter the type of roadway, the length of the trip or time of day.