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Missouri State Highway Patrol prepares for busy holiday travel weekend

Published: Nov. 22, 2021 at 6:39 AM CST
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SPRINGFIELD, Mo. (KY3) - Wednesday will be one of the busiest travel days of the year.

AAA reports 53 million people are expected to take a trip for Thanksgiving, with 48 million out on the roads. Missouri State Highway Patrol Sergeant Mike McClure with Troop D said says before hitting the roads remember these safety tips that could save your life and those around you.

Sgt. McClure said distracted driving, speeding, and hazardous moving violations are the top three causes of accidents. He said to put down the cell phone and if you’re using it for directions to plan your route ahead of time. He said changing the radio, eating, and even having a conversation can be distracting too.

”We push the cell phone issue because that’s the number one distraction, particularly for younger drivers and a lot of adults, use the cell phone when they should be focusing on their task at hand which is driving,” said Sgt. McClure. “What we need to make sure that we understand is that eating something while we’re driving and being distracted by a conversation that’s going on in the vehicle can be the same distraction as looking at a cell phone. We have to process that sentence that we’re hearing and that takes our eyes and our focus off of driving.”

Sgt. McClure said your seatbelt is a small piece of equipment, but it’s the most important piece of equipment and it only takes three seconds to put it on. He said to watch your speed because it is not worth the citation or putting yourself or those around you in danger.

”Speed is one of our top three killers,” said Sgt. McClure. “It is increasing or seeing higher speeds on the road has been for the last two years. Your speed limit signs are your warning for you. They tell you what the speed limit is. Not only is it risky behavior but it’s putting you in a position where you will probably get stopped and receive a citation. It’s going to cost you money.”

Missouri had 12 fatalities and 379 injury accidents during last year’s Thanksgiving weekend. Sgt. McClure is expecting more drivers out on the roads this year compared to Thanksgiving 2020.

“I think it’s going to be closer to back to normal,” said Sgt. McClure. “It’s hard to predict because you’re taking into account those that are flying, but you’re still driving to those destinations to get on a plane and get off the plane to rent a car. So those miles count. Hopefully the weather’s good. That’s something else to keep track of is the weather because that’s going to have an effect and impact on your travel plans.”

While car rides can be uncomfortable at times Sgt. McClure said all passengers need to be buckled up. If you’re sitting in the front seat to not put your feet up on the dashboard because if there’s an accident the airbag can cause severe injuries.

McClure recommends you check your vehicle before hitting the road. Make sure your tires are aired up, your windshield is not cracked, and make sure there is no fluid under your vehicle.

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