NSC reminds drivers to be cautious on Thanksgiving

As millions of drivers leave work the day before Thanksgiving, highways across America will be filling with families and individuals heading home for the holiday.

To remind drivers to remain cautious as they drive home from work and over the weekend, the National Safety Council (NSC) has released its Thanksgiving Day Holiday Period Traffic Fatality Estimate. The 2011 Thanksgiving Day holiday begins at 6:00 p.m. on Wednesday, November 23, and ends at 11:59 p.m. on Sunday, November 27. In that period, the NSC estimates there will be 434 deaths, with a 90 percent confidence interval of 368 to 509 deaths. 43,400 are estimated to have injuries that are serious enough to seek help from a medical professional.

Estimates are based on data from a five-year period beginning in 2004. In 2009, the council estimated 447 deaths, while actual deaths totaled 401.

Further studies show that safety belts are 45 percent effective in preventing traffic deaths when they are used by front-seat passengers. Other safety equipment, such as jumper cables, flares, and reflective triangles can be carried in a vehicle as part of an emergency pack, and a first aid kit can help increase safety in the event of a highway accident.

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