Over the next few days, families all over the country will load up SUVs, cars and trucks and head over the river and through the woods to various holiday destinations.
Inevitably, some of them will never make it there. Just as inevitably, some won’t make it back.
Sadly, many accidents that happen over the holidays aren’t accidents at all.
It is not an accident if you get behind the wheel of a automobile drunk.
It’s reckless, stupid and unnecessary — but it’s not an accident.
If you drink over the holidays, let someone else take the wheel or arrange for some other means of transportation. Thinking ahead may keep another family out of the emergency room — or a funeral home — during the holiday season.
With law enforcement out in force, it’s also a way to ensure you spend Christmas with family and friends celebrating and not behind bars.
Even when you take the drunks out of the equation — and we wish we could — there are still some simple steps you can take to make your trip a safer one.
Get plenty of rest the night before. If that means delaying that last bit of gift-wrapping or cooking until later, so be it. Almost as dangerous as a drunk driver on the roads is one about to nod off at the wheel.
Take your time getting to your destination. It’s an all-day celebration — not a race. Unless you’re Santa trying to make it around the entire globe before the sun rises, ease off on the lead foot.
Be ready for construction. You know it’s coming. Orange cones, loose gravel and the groan of grooved pavement will be your travel companions somewhere along the way. Slow down, watch for trouble spots and when the jerk screams around you right before it goes down to one lane, just give him a holiday wave and bite your tongue. It’s Christmas after all.
Last, but not least, buckle up. Don’t worry about wrinkling your holiday finery. Snap the seat belt and forget about it. Put the children in the car seats, the older ones in the boosters and make sure the teens buckle up as well.
Turn on the Christmas music — like you’ll be able to find anything else — and enjoy the ride.
Come back safely.