MARINE CORPS AIR STATION CHERRY POINT, N.C. -- Thanksgiving is a time for family and friends. Whether traveling near or far, or staying home to celebrate the beginning of the holiday season. All must remember that planning ahead will help make for a safe, and happy, Thanksgiving.
According to AAA, more than 43.3 million people are expected to travel during Thanksgiving. At least 91 percent of travelers will be driving a distance of 50 miles or more. According to John M. Ruth, a safety and occupational health specialist at Marine Corp Air Station Cherry Point, N.C., driving safety is imperative for travelers during the holidays.
“Some hazards to remember when traveling are weather, drivers in a hurry, speeding and poor vehicle maintenance,” said Ruth. “While traveling, take your time, plan ahead with an emergency kit and be alert and ready for anything.”
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration estimates an average of 430 people will die in a traffic collision on Thanksgiving Day, making it the deadliest holiday of the year. The combined factors of increased traffic, with 50 percent more drivers on the road and higher-than-usual alcohol consumption, contribute to its danger, according to Ruth.
Kitchen safety is also important for a safe, relaxing Thanksgiving, said Ruth. The risk of accidental death or injury from a cooking-related incident is also greatly elevated Thanksgiving Day.
“While cooking during the holidays, common sense can mitigate many risks,” said Ruth. “Keep children out of the kitchen, away from the fryer, keep an eye out while cooking, prepare early enough and cook food thoroughly.”
According to Ruth, remembering safety tips will get travelers to their destination and back home safely. Simple things like buckling up, slowing down, respecting other drivers and using safe practices when preparing and serving food can take as much out of the mishap equation as possible.
“Thanksgiving is a time for celebration, not tragedy” said Ruth. “Don’t become a statistic, come back alive.”