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State Farm® offers safe driving tips for the holidays

Bloomington, Ill, More than 400 people died and 6,400 were injured in vehicle crashes during Thanksgiving weekend last year. State Farm wants to reduce that number and make sure you return home safely this year.

Holiday travel includes: extended road time to reach family destinations, quick trips to stores for last minute items and, shopping for gifts. Holiday travel places drivers in unfamiliar territory with a whole host of new distractions. Even if you are returning to the place where you grew up, changes in road design and traffic flow can put you in unfamiliar territory. Add extended family members in a car along with handheld games, MP3 players, cell phones, DVD players and GPS systems and you’ve created an atmosphere that would distract any driver. With all the mechanical beeps, music and cartoons playing it is very hard for the driver to truly pay attention to the congested traffic around them.

To keep your family members safe follow these simple steps:

Buckle up. There should be a seat belt for each passenger and every child should be in the appropriate child passenger or booster seat.

Turn off electronic equipment. You need your eyes and ears for the road so limit the number of whistles and beeps.

Get adequate rest before you hit the road. Even with a car full of people a driver can become drowsy
Sit up and don’t slouch. Just as your mother said, sitting up straight with your hands on the wheel will help you remain alert to others on the road. Constantly check your mirrors and be aware of any vehicles, bicycles, motorcycles and pedestrians either in your path or near you in traffic.

Don’t eat while driving. It’s tempting to grab a snack as you go from one store to another but resist the temptation when you’re behind the wheel. A spilled cup of coffee or a sliding sandwich can create erratic behavior behind the wheel. Stay nourished and refreshed by taking breaks to drink or eat and “stretch your legs” to reduce fatigue.

Use common sense this holiday season to have a great time with friends and family this year and for years to come.


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