Make it to the Table: Practice Smart Driving this Holiday Weekend

When it comes to the biggest feast of the year, we can all be a little eager to get to the dinner table on time

MOORHEAD, Minn. — The day before Thanksgiving is what many law enforcement agencies refer to as “Blackout Wednesday” due to an increase in drunk driving crashes.

The four–day holiday period is considered by the Minnesota State Patrol as some of the busiest times to be on the road.

“The night before Thanksgiving becomes a very big party night,” said Sgt. Jesse Grabow, who is with the Minnesota State Patrol. “For a lot of people, it’s almost like a high school reunion.”

When it comes to the biggest feast of the year, we can all be a little eager to get to the dinner table on time.

“With that much more traffic out there, there is the potential for more things to happen such as crashes and things like that,” Grabow said.

Sgt. Jesse Grabow with the Minnesota State Patrol says troopers and other law enforcement agencies will step up patrols across the state.

“We do see alcohol related incidents increasing this time of year,” Grabow said.

Last year, 74 people died from a drunk driving incident in Minnesota alone.

Now this year, authorities are trying to prevent that from happening this holiday season, but alcohol isn’t the only thing that poses a danger to drivers. Grabow says distracted driving or getting behind the wheel when you’re over–tired also contributes to crashes.

“I think just driving with more stress and more people is probably a little bit of a problem,” Joseph White said, a traveler driving home to Wisconsin from North Dakota. “If you get tired, stop. Pull over. Get off the road. Setting yourself back an hour or two for resting is a lot better than wrecking a vehicle or you know hurting somebody or something like that.”

Sgt. Grabow says while you may think of yourself as a good driver, remember that not everyone out on the road is.

“You need to pay attention to those other people that are making those poor decisions,” Grabow said.

When it comes to traveling during the holiday, Grabow says there is more to it than just buckling your seatbelt.

“Allow more time for travel, plan ahead and use some good common sense,” he added.

Don’t forget to check the weather forecast before hitting the road.

“Things can change very quickly, be aware of that,” Grabow said.

Remembering all of these things can really put a lot on your plate, but make sure you leave room for that turkey and stuffing.

“I’m going to go get chubby for the next few days,” White said with a laugh.

Arriving safely can top your list of things you are thankful for.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is running a social media campaign called “Make it to the Table,” geared at reminding people to get a designated driver this Thanksgiving.

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