How to get home safely this Thanksgiving weekend

Photo of Chris Carr
FILE—To avoid incidents on the road, motorists should keep in mind safe driving practices over the holiday weekend.

FILE—To avoid incidents on the road, motorists should keep in mind safe driving practices over the holiday weekend.

David Zalubowski/AP

As Michiganders hit the roads to make merry with friends and family, drivers should be aware of their safe driving practices.

With Thanksgiving comes festivities and one of the busiest bar nights of the year. According to the Michigan State Police, 1,009 people have died on Michigan roads this year with 23 of them since last week. This number is up by 78 deaths compared to this time last year.

During the 2019 Thanksgiving holiday weekend, 279 people were killed on Michigan roads with the majority of them unbuckled at the time of incident. The Michigan Department of Transportation recommends wearing seat belts whenever getting into a vehicle.

Many deaths during the Thanksgiving holiday can be attributed to drunk or impaired drivers. From 2015-2019, 135 drivers involved in fatal crashes on Thanksgiving Eve were drunk, according to MDOT. During this same period, 800 deaths resulted from crashes involving a drunk driver over the holiday weekend.

In addition to alcohol, tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) can have impacts on a driver’s ability to safely navigate the road. Drivers under the influence of marijuana products experience slower reaction times and difficulty to stay in their lanes.

Options exist for those who have found themselves intoxicated before they need to head home over the holiday. AAA is offering its Tow To Go program for members and non-members. The program seeks to prevent injuries and deaths related to impaired driving. A tow truck will transport the driver and vehicle home or to a safe location within 10 miles of the original location.

The program is designed to be a safety net for those who did not anticipate their situation and should not be used as a plan to get home, according to AAA. A designated driver or alternative plan should be decided upon before partaking of alcohol or other substances. To make use of the program call 855-2-TOW-2-GO.

Other options in more populated areas are rideshare services such as Uber and Lyft. Check with their websites to see if these organizations service your area.