Don’t be a turkey: Buckle up and drive sober

Michigan motorists will soon be flocking to the roadways to visit with family and friends for Thanksgiving celebrations. The combination of increased traffic, deer on the move and the state’s unpredictable late November weather can be a recipe for a bad holiday. Motorists are urged to buckle up and designate a sober driver.

During last year’s Thanksgiving holiday weekend, nine people were killed on Michigan roadways, including three pedestrians. Four of those deaths were alcohol-related and three of the victims were not wearing a seat belt, according to the Michigan State Police, Criminal Justice Information Center.

“Thanksgiving is a special time to celebrate with friends and family, but it should be done responsibly,” said Michael L. Prince, director of the Michigan Office of Highway Safety Planning. “Buckling up and making the decision not to drive after drinking could save your life and the lives of others this holiday weekend.”

Wearing a seat belt is the single best thing drivers and passengers can do to protect themselves in the event of a crash, reducing the risk of death or serious injury by 45 percent. When used correctly, child safety seats are 71 percent effective in preventing death and 50 percent effective in preventing injuries.

Holiday travelers are also encouraged to designate a sober driver before drinking, take a cab home or spend the night.