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Critical tips for avoiding an accident this Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving is coming up, and for many people, this means making plans to spend time with family and friends. 

While you may be planning everything from turkey preparations to accommodations, you would also be wise to make plans for getting to and from your holiday destinations safely. 

Stay sober or find a ride

Because holidays and drinking frequently go hand-in-hand, there is an increased risk of people getting behind the wheel while intoxicated. In fact, as this National Highway Traffic Safety article notes, Thanksgiving is the deadliest holiday on the roads with hundreds of deaths caused by drunk driving; the night before Thanksgiving is particularly treacherous.

To avoid a drunk driving accident, do not drive after drinking. Find a sober ride or stay somewhere safe. Even if you aren't drinking, stay alert when driving. If possible, avoid driving late at night to avoid sharing the road with potentially drunk drivers. 

Inspect your car

Even if you are only driving a short distance, make sure your car is in good condition before getting behind the wheel. This is especially important in cold, snowy conditions. 

Check your tires, the brakes and windshield wipers. Make sure your lights all work. If you haven't had your car inspected in a while, take it in to an auto shop for an oil change and other routine maintenance. When your car is safe, you can be safe. 

Take your time

Between the stress and excitement of the holidays, people often rush to get from point A to point B this time of year. But remember: Getting somewhere late is preferable to not getting there at all. 

Don't speed. Be patient. Give other vehicles plenty of space. Obey traffic signals. Pull over if you need to talk or text on your phone. These are basic, straightforward ways to avoid accidents that every driver should already know. 

What to do when you cannot avoid an accident

While taking these and other precautions can reduce your risk of crashing this holiday, unfortunately, motor vehicle accidents can still happen when other drivers are reckless or negligent. Under these circumstances, crash victims would be wise to report the accident, seek medical treatment and consider filing a legal claim if there are damages.

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