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Tips to make your holiday driving a bit safer

This year, the National Safety Council urges drivers to be alert while driving to and from their destinations over this Thanksgiving extended weekend.

It's estimated by the NSC that there may be 50,300 individuals seriously injured and up to 437 fatalities due to collisions that occur from Wednesday at 6 p.m. on Nov. 23 to Sunday at 11:59 p.m. on Nov. 27.

The fatality rates are estimated at a 12 percent increase from the 391 average deaths over the last six extended Thanksgiving weekends. The reason for this is that 2016 has already been a lethal year, with deaths from auto accidents up 9 percent across the nation during the first half of the year when compared to the previous year. When the numbers are crunched and compared to 2014, the fatality rate in 2016 rises 18 percentage points.

Because of this uptick in highway deaths, the NSC has formed partnerships with advocacy groups, non-profits and local and state governments to implement to the Road to Zero Coalition. Its goal is to end traffic fatalities in three decades.

The following tips can help you and your family have a safer traveling experience:

-- Don't drive when fatigued. Allow enough travel time to take rest breaks.

-- Only drive when sober. Designate a totally sober driver for the evening or plan to take Uber or public transportation.

-- Newer cars have all sorts of safety features with which drivers may not have familiarized themselves. The website My Car Does What explains different safety systems that drivers can access and use.

-- If you need to make a call, send a text or use a cellphone navigation system, pull over at a safe spot to do so.

Don't become a highway statistic. Keep you and your family safe so you can enjoy many more happy holiday celebrations together.

Source: National Safety Council, "National Safety Council Urges Drivers to Take Control of Their Safety this Thanksgiving Holiday," Nov. 17, 2016

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