Make the Holidays Memorable for all the Right Reasons

More than 400 lives could be saved if everyone wore a seat belt.

Kathy Bernstein is program manager of Teen Safe Driving at NSC. She was honored in 2015 with an Excellence in Advocacy Award from the Professional Women in Advocacy for her work in teen driving.

​When people come together, it's supposed to be for joyous occasions. When the holidays arrive, many of us take to the roads to see loved ones who were haven't seen for months or years, so we can sit back and enjoy each other's company.

For too many families, though, those travels will not result of lingering chats over hot chocolate. The National Safety Council is estimating thatmore than 300 people will be killed and more than 37,000 people will be seriously injured in car crashes during the three-day Christmas holiday period. This is the highest estimate the Council has issued for that three-day period since 2009. The Council is also estimating 346 people will be killed and 41,900 seriously injured during the three-day New Year's holiday period.

That's more than 650 families that will find themselves not celebrating but grieving in the next few weeks, but those tragedies can be prevented; the Council estimates that 405 lives could be saved if, during those two holiday periods, everyone wore seat belts.

The National Safety Council is offering a few simple tips to stay safe on the roads during the holidays, including using a designated driver, getting enough sleep to avoid fatigued driving, and never using a cell phone behind the wheel. But the safety belt might be the second most important safety feature in any car.

The most important safety feature, of course, is you, the driver. By getting behind the wheel prepared to focus on safety, you are making a commitment that matters. The holidays are no time for grief, and by following these tips, you can substantially reduce the danger to yourself, your passengers and your fellow motorists.

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