Thanksgiving fact: 1.7 million Michiganders will be traveling over Thanksgiving, many of them on area roads and interstate highways. That is great for the economy and for family bonding, but it also adds a great deal of risk for collisions and injuries.
If you plan to be hitting the road during this coming weekend, please ensure that you and your passengers are following these basic safety precautions:
- Buckle up all the time; NO EXCEPTIONS. While compliance with seatbelts is relatively high in the front seat and with young children who are required to be in special car seats, back seat passengers are far less compliant, particularly teens and adults. In fact, a great deal of teen injuries and deaths are from unbuckled passengers. Whether Grandma lives in another state or another suburb, all passengers and drivers must protect themselves on the way to her house.
- Feet off the dashboard. Here is another teen issue. While feeling relaxed and chilling in the front passenger seat, we notice young people putting their feet up on the dashboard. WE DISAPPROVE, not just because your nasty feet are on the dashboard. We disapprove chiefly because this position puts you at greater risk for an injury and impedes the appropriate deployment of the air bag in the case of an accident. Feet on the floor, kiddos.
- Don’t distract the driver. Arguments, annoying music, blocking the view of the driver are all forbidden. Good passengers help the driver focus on the road by playing their favorite music that makes them happy and not impeding their attention to driving.
- The driver determines the stops. Most adult drivers need to stop every three or four hours to stretch, change their position or go to the bathroom. No complaining about the time it takes to stop.
- Be prepared for seasonal hazards. These can include rain, snow or sleet, the presence of deer and fog.
- You’ll get there when you get there. Expect traffic to be worse, and there might be true delays. Better to take your mind off the clock and just practice safe and defensive driving. Your family would rather see you arrive late than not at all.