November Injury Prevention

Safety tips to prepare for Thanksgiving travel and activities

Thanksgiving is well-known as being the most traveled weekend of the year. The following checklist will help you focus on the safety measures to consider before hitting the road.

Before You Hit the Road
  • Is the car in good repair? An automobile should be tuned, oil changed, and tire pressure set to the appropriate level prior to departure.
  • Is the driver in good driving shape? The driver should be well-rested, alert, and free of substances such as alcohol, sedatives or other medications that may cause drowsiness.
  • Is the family prepared and ready to go? Are all seat belts buckled properly prior to departure? Remember to pack entertainment for the long trip, books to read, or car games the whole family can play to pass the time.
  • Have necessary arrangements been made for the family pet? Remember to leave your contact information in case an emergency occurs, as well as a favorite toy for your pet to have while you’re gone. Also, remember to ensure your pet’s shots are be up to date.
  • Is the house in a proper state to be left? Confirm the doors are securely locked, timers are set for any outdoor lighting, smoke detectors are working, and the security alarm is set. Be sure you have left your contact information with a trusted neighbor so they may reach you if an emergency takes place.

Road Tripping
  • A whole new set of challenges appear as you are hitting the highway for a road trip this holiday season. Depending on the time of day you choose to leave, the traffic can be more difficult to navigate. Consider the issue of road construction and how it may affect your travel.
  • Also remember to include rest stop time in your travels. Everyone will be better able to handle a long drive if they have some planned opportunities to stretch their legs and move around. This will also keep the driver fresh and more alert while driving.
  • Even if you know about how long it takes to reach your destination, consider adding extra time in the schedule for unexpected happenings. This will also help everyone stay more relaxed without worrying about being “late”, which can add extra stress to a road trip.

Last year’s Thanksgiving holiday stats from the Oklahoma Highway Patrol (OHP) stand as a great reminder of considerations for safety first as we travel to our holiday destinations. The following information was recorded as a part of the OHP’s Operation C.A.R.E. initiative which ran from Wednesday, November 23 to Sunday, November 27, 2011.
  • 9 deaths
  • 60 DUI arrests
  • 720 speeding tickets
  • 224 seatbelt violations
  • 23 child restraint citations

The numbers only tell part of the story as captured by the Oklahoma Highway Patrol. Hospital statistics reflect even greater numbers of individuals involved in non-fatal crashes. Each of us has a responsibility to help reduce these numbers.

Have a safe and happy Thanksgiving this year, and enjoy the company of family and friends during this season of giving thanks.

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