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Why Thanksgiving is a deadly day to drive

Aside from coronary events, car accidents are a major culprit of the increase in deaths that occur around Thanksgiving. Pennsylvania drivers may like to know that this is the reason that the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration encourages them to stay safe while on the road for the holiday season.

Recent data from the Fatality Analysis Reporting System, which is part of the NHTSA, shows that there were 764 fatal traffic crashes around Thanksgiving in 2012. The agency also reports that there were almost 50,000 non-fatal crashes. By comparison, there were 654 fatal accidents during the 2012 Christmas period.

In a majority of cases, road users could have prevented the fatalities by taking simple safety measures such as not driving drunk and wearing a seat belt. The NHTSA says that at least 40 percent of the passengers who died were involved in drunk driving crashes. Additionally, about 60 percent of the passengers were not wearing seat belts.

The NHTSA also reports that 341 drivers and passengers were killed in car accidents over Thanksgiving weekend in 2014. Half of them were not wearing a seat belt. The agency says that vehicle occupants can reduce their risk of death by 45 percent if they wear a seat belt.

Road users can also protect themselves during Thanksgiving weekend by checking for proper tire pressure and working windshield wipers. Some other tips include checking road, traffic and weather conditions as well as planning the route before driving. Travelers should take their time on the road rather than rush to their holiday parties or family gatherings.

People who are injured in car accidents over the holiday weekend or any other time of the year might be granted compensation for their injuries. They could file personal injury lawsuits against the negligent or otherwise reckless drivers who caused their injuries. If the drivers' insurance companies don't settle out of court, the victims may go to court with the help of private attorneys.

Source: Times-Republican, "Law enforcement: Buckle up for Thanksgiving travels," Jeff Hutton, Nov 17, 2016

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