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As you prepare to hit the road for the Thanksgiving holiday this week, remember to use caution. According to AAA, the Thanksgiving week is the deadliest. With a combination of factors–including the fact that 90% of travelers will go by automobile–the likelihood of getting into a crash goes up. In addition, there are other factors to consider that are unique to the holiday season that can contribute to a heightened danger on the roadways.

First, many drivers will be charting unfamiliar territory, and sometimes late at night when roadways are dark and drivers are drowsy from their long trips. Add in the fact that some will be drinking during the holiday festivities, and you have a recipe for disaster. AAA says that road travel has been down since Thanksgiving 2008 because of the number of unemployed and rising gas prices, but that people are still finding ways to trim their budgets to make it around the table. Indeed, the travel group estimates 43.6 million Americans will take trips of 50 miles or more during the Thanksgiving holiday weekend.

Cars are the dominant mode of transportation for most holiday travelers. You can heed the following tips to prevent disaster from striking while on the roadways for Thanksgiving:

• If drinking alcohol is part of your holiday activities, plan ahead to designate a non-drinking driver. If a designated driver is not available, do not drive. Other means of sober transportation, such as taxis and public transportation, should be used.

• Make sure all children in your vehicle are placed in age-appropriate car seats and all adults are buckled up.

• Plan ahead for inclement weather, and make sure your vehicle contains appropriate emergency equipment.

• Don’t allow distractions. Put away the cell phones and electronic equipment while driving.

• Don’t drive drowsy. Get plenty of sleep before driving, and schedule frequent stops along the way.

• Let someone know of your travel plans, what route you will take and what time to expect you at your destination.

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