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Preventative maintenance, designated drivers help keep Thanksgiving trips safe

Posted November 24

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— Across the country, Thanksgiving is the deadliest holiday on the roads, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

AAA Carolinas expects 2 million people in North and South Carolina to hit the road on Thanksgiving for trips that are 50 miles or more in distance. More people one the roads can mean more problems though.

“Most of our calls come in from people traveling through town to see family and have a breakdown or flat tire, whatever the case is,” said Brandon Watson, a town truck operator with Chandler’s Towing and Auto Repair in Durham.

Watson said it’s important to give tow truck drivers more space to do their jobs to keep things safer for everybody.

“When you’re on the side of the highway seeing a car run at you 60, 70 miles per hour, it ain’t a good feeling knowing they’re not going to get over,” he said.

The Highway Patrol suggests travelers leave early to allow plenty of time to get to their destination and plan ahead for rest stops to prevent fatigue.

They also recommend designating a sober driver and, if necessary, call a cab, friend or family member if a person has had too much to drink.

The Highway Patrol adds that, in the case of minor accidents, they ask drivers to move their cars out of the roadway.

Watson said most of what he’s seen this year are not crashes, but preventable car maintenance issues.

“Check on your vehicle before you go on a trip. Check all your fluid levels, tires and tire pressure,” he said. “Don’t try to rush, because wherever you’re going, it’s definitely not going nowhere.”

The Highway Patrol said anybody who notices somebody driving erratically or someone who may be driving impaired should report it by dialing *47.

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