Thanksgiving is popular for a number of reasons: family, food, football and the famous Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade.
It also marks the beginning of the busiest travel season of the year, in which a record number of people fall victim to traffic accidents.
But this doesn’t have to be the case for our campus, if students use caution as they venture to and from their destinations this week.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, traffic volume on American roadways will increase some 50 percent this week. This is because 91 percent of Thanksgiving travelers will reach their destination via car.
A study conducted by the NHTSA also showed the 26-year average of Thanksgiving Day fatalities is an astounding 556. This means, other factors notwithstanding, 11 people will die on the roadways in each state on Thursday.
Those statistics, combined with increased alcohol consumption, mean this week could end up being a sad one for a number of American families. This is especially true when considering most of the victims: a large number of them teenagers and young adults who will have not worn their seatbelts.
Yes, we’re all ready to rush home to visit our families and bask in the comforts and joys of home life. And because a number of transient students haven’t visited their hometown since summer’s end, homesickness likely will add to travelers angst. However, in the midst of the holiday hustle-and-bustle, it is important to keep safety in mind.
We’re not sure why things like seatbelts, speed limits and police presence are often disregarded on roadways. But we must bear in mind that before roadway safety regulations were implemented, drivers dropped like flies. The number of traffic fatalities decreased significantly over the past 40 years, according to the Feds. Still, these numbers could be awe-inspiringly lower if drivers made the right decisions on the road.
So, relax, take your time on the road, you’ll get there. Your loved ones will be waiting for you to safely arrive. But cutting a couple of hours off your trip and endangering others’ safety and your own, isn’t worth the risk.