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The Villages
Saturday, December 9, 2023

Officials urge travelers to use caution during Thanksgiving season

Holiday travel increases vehicles on Florida’s roadways as motorists visit their friends and families to celebrate the season, resulting in increased traffic statistics related to crashes with and without injury, including serious bodily injury and fatalities.

Within the holiday travel statistics are a few compelling trends that are notable. From 2019  to 2022, during the Thanksgiving holiday (the Wednesday before to the Sunday after), there were 87,375 crashes, and 938 had one or more people involved, impaired by drugs, alcohol, or both. 

On Thanksgiving week in 2022, over 28 percent of fatal crashes had one or more people involved impaired by drugs, alcohol, or both, bringing the likelihood of a fatality crash involving impaired driving to 36 percent greater than a fatality crash without impairment.

This holiday and every day, FHP reminds drivers that impaired driving is dangerous driving, it kills. Impairment is not limited to alcohol; it also includes prescription medication, marijuana, and other illegal narcotics. If you are impaired, your reaction time is affected, as are your concentration and hand-eye coordination, all of which are required to operate a vehicle safely. If you are impaired, we encourage you to use a ride-share service to protect you and others from potential harm.

Additional safety reminders are to ensure you do not head out to your holiday destination or get behind the wheel to return when you are tired or have not had quality rest. Driving while drowsy is similar to driving while impaired and can cause the same delayed reaction time, lack of concentration, and hand-eye coordination, resulting in the same dangers.

During the Thanksgiving Holiday season, pedestrians and other non-motorists were over 23 times more likely to die if involved in a car crash when compared to people inside a motor vehicle.

There were 148 non-motorist fatalities during the 2019-2022 Thanksgiving Holidays. As you travel the roadways, enter and exit driveways and parking lots, and when backing out of parking spaces remember to look for pedestrians. If you are on foot, it is essential to check for vehicles and be safe and seen by motorists.  

Finally, always ensure your vehicle is travel-ready and in good condition before getting behind the wheel; if you end up needing assistance, you should always pull over to the shoulder of the roadway, and if you are a motorist passing by a situation like this where an individual is receiving assistance from first responders, service or utility vehicles always move over or slow down to ensure their safety.

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