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Safety Tips for a Happy West Virginia Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving is a time to be grateful for the blessings in our life and celebrate with our loved ones. However, surprisingly, the holiday is also one of the most dangerous on the roads of America.

In a recent story Forbes reported that Thanksgiving tops the list of deadly holidays in the United States.  Fortunately, traffic deaths were down last year from a 26 year average according to the Department of Transportation.  Below is some information that we hope will make a small difference in continuing this trend so we all can spend Thanksgiving in gratitude instead of grief.

Of course alcohol consumption causes automobile accidents and injuries on Thanksgiving like any other holiday.  For Thanksgiving, the unique factor is highways packed with fatigued drivers who are often on road long trips.  Drowsy driving is a powerful factor behind car wrecks. The National Sleep Foundation states 100,000 crashes a year, resulting in 71,000 injuries and 1,550 deaths, are attributable to drivers falling asleep at the wheel.

David Kelly of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration states: “Now that airline ticket prices have increased, you have people trying to cram in as many activities as they can before they take that four or five-hour road trip.”

According to Forbes, in 2008, for example, more than 500 people lost their lives on the roads of America over Thanksgiving. On a typical day 102 people are killed on the roads. There is some evidence the holiday death toll is decreasing. In 2011, for example, 375 people died on the highways over Thanksgiving, according to the National Safety Council.

The National Safety Council estimates 436 people will be killed and another 46,600 people will be injured on the roads over Thanksgiving 2013.  Below are some important safety tips to help keep you and your family safe this year:

  • Take regular breaks when you are behind the wheel. Don’t over-exhaust yourself by trying to drive for long stretches without a break. Pull over or stop at a rest stop and drink coffee.
  • Make sure your car is in good working order. Check brakes, lights, tires and fluid levels before a long trip.
  • Use extreme caution when traveling and don’t be in a hurry to get to your destination. Roads and highways will be clogged with Thanksgiving travelers and the best way to avoid accidents is to take your time and don’t be aggressive.
  • Leave early and carefully plan out your route. If you have a GPS device also have a map as a back-up in case it fails.
  • Watch out for drunk drivers. There will be more of them on the road than normal over the holiday. If you see a vehicle driving suspiciously, keep your distance or pull over until the car passes.
  • You should never get behind the wheel if you have been drinking alcohol. If you are going to a party make sure you have a designated driver.

As well as dangers on the roads, there are other potential hazards in the home over the Thanksgiving holidays that we can take precautions to protect ourselves and our families from.

Fire Safety:

  • Cooking can be a fire hazard. Keep a fire extinguisher in the kitchen in case of emergency, and teach your family how to use it
  • Be wary when using turkey fryers as they pose a number of distinct safety concerns, including burn and fire hazards.
  • Never wear loose fitting clothing when cooking. Long, open sleeves could ignite and catch fire from a gas flame or a hot burner. Wear short, close fitting or tightly rolled sleeves when cooking.
  • Candles are a significant cause of fires. Avoid their use, if possible.  Never leave a candle unattended.

From all of us at West Law Firm, we hope you have a happy and safe Thanksgiving. If you are hurt in a crash or accident and would like a free consultation, please call one of our West Virginia injury lawyers.  We will be on call over the holidays to assist those in need.



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