Travel Safely This Thanksgiving

Many of us will be going over the river and through the woods this Thanksgiving, actually a lot of us. AAA estimates that 43.6 million Americans traveled 50 miles or more from home during the 2012 Thanksgiving holiday weekend.

With so many motorists on the road, this weekend has become a dangerous one. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reports that during the 2011 Thanksgiving holiday weekend, 249 passenger vehicle occupants were killed in a car crash, and half of them weren't wearing seatbelts; seatbelt use goes down at night, the data also shows.

NHTSA reports that in 2011, seatbelts saved almost 12,000 lives throughout the country. Aside from always buckling up, follow these tips from AAA to stay safe on your way to and from dinner this year.

  • Plan ahead and designate a non-drinking driver before any holiday party or celebration begins.
  • Never get behind the wheel of a car when you've been drinking — even after just one drink.
  • Do not hesitate to take the keys from friends or family members who may be impaired.
  • Be a real friend: Call a taxi for those in need.
  • Be a responsible host in reminding guests to stay safe and always offer alcohol-free beverages.

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Assistant Managing Editor Jennifer Geiger is a reviewer, car-seat technician and mom of three. She wears a lot of hats, many of them while driving a minivan.  Email Jennifer