NETS and NHTSA remind us that wearing seat belts while traveling this week is essential.

Take Heed of Holiday Driving Tips

Buckle up, eliminate distractions, and drive sober, the Florida Highway Patrol reminds us.

With millions of Americans driving to visit relatives and friends during the Thanksgiving holiday period, the Florida Highway Patrol is one of the enforcement agencies issuing reminders of how to do the utmost to ensure safe arrivals.

AAA has predicted 46.3 million Americans will travel at least 50 miles during this weekend, and 89 percent of them will do so by car, DOT reported.

The FHP's short list of tips can help prevent tragedies during the long holiday weekend:

  • Get plenty of rest before setting out on a long trip.
  • Observe and obey all speed limits.
  • Drive sober, and only sober.
  • Buckle up. A seatbelt is your vehicle's most important safety feature.
  • Eliminate distractions: Texting, talking on the phone, eating, adjusting the stereo – these are all examples of things that can take your eyes and attention off the road, which is exactly what you want to avoid.
  • Report intoxicated or aggressive drivers and call for help if your vehicle breaks down and you need assistance.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration's tips are similar:

  • Always wear your seat belt and ensure that children are buckled up in age- and size-appropriate restraints. Children under age 13 should be seated in the back seat. Remember, 33 states, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico have primary seat belt laws.
  • Never drive drunk or distracted. Driving drunk kills people. In every state, it's is against the law to drive with a BAC of .08 or higher. So obey the law; stay focused and alert at all times.
  • Inspect your tires to avoid a blowout and to ensure proper grip in inclement weather. Make sure each tire is filled to the vehicle manufacturer's recommended inflation pressure. Don't forget to check your spare tire to ensure it is properly inflated.
  • Make sure your windshield wipers work and, if necessary, replace worn blades and completely fill your vehicle's windshield wiper fluid reservoir.
  • Check to see if your car has been recalled. Enter your Vehicle Identification Number into NHTSA's free online search tool to find out. All major light vehicle and motorcycle brands can be searched. If the results show a recall, take action by calling your manufacturers. Ask for interim steps you can take to stay safe before getting the free fix.
  • Keep up with routine maintenance and tune-ups. Have your entire vehicle checked thoroughly for leaks, badly worn hoses, or other needed parts, repairs, and replacements.
  • Plan your travel and route by checking the weather, road conditions, and traffic. Leave early, if necessary, and allow plenty of time to safely get to your destination.
  • Carry items in your vehicle that may prove useful in the event of an emergency or if you get stranded, including: snow shovel, broom, ice scraper, jumper cables, flashlight, flares/emergency markers, blankets, mobile phone with charger, water, food, and any necessary medicine.
  • If you become stranded, don't run your vehicle with the windows up or in an enclosed space for an extended period of time to avoid asphyxiation from carbon monoxide poisoning. If you must run your vehicle, clear the exhaust pipe of any snow and run it only sporadically – just long enough to stay warm.

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