Our Opinion: Travel 'miles' with 'care' this Thanksgiving

When it comes to holiday travels, information, preparation and cooperation go a long way.

Let’s begin with information.

More Americans are expected to travel during the extended Thanksgiving holiday weekend.

AAA predicts 43.6 million people, up 0.7 percent from last year, will travel at least 50 miles from home during the holiday period.

Slightly larger crowds are anticipated at airports, train stations and bus terminals. For motorists, more vehicles will be on the roadways.

One way to be both informed and prepared is to plan your trip in advance.

Even if you are traveling a familiar route, variables include weather conditions, works zones, flooding and accidents. The Missouri Department of Transportation (MoDOT) has expanded and upgraded its Traveler Information mobile app, which can be downloaded at no cost.

Motorists also are asked to cooperate with two special operations being conducted by the Missouri Highway Patrol to improve safety for everyone.

Operation C.A.R.E, the acronym for Combined Accident Reduction Effort, will take place during the Thanksgiving holiday weekend. All available officers will be assigned to Missouri’s roadways to enforce traffic laws, especially those related to drunken driving, speeding and seat belt use. Troopers will also be available to assist motorists as needed.

In addition, the 20-mile Trooper Operation program will focus enforcement on 20-mile intervals along interstates 35, 44, 55, and 70, as well as U.S. 60 and 61.

The emphasis is not to inconvenience motorists, but to curtail dangerous driving and enhance safety. Increased traffic volumes increase the propensity for accidents.

During the 2011 Thanksgiving holiday weekend, the patrol reports four people were killed and another 464 were injured in 1,372 traffic crashes. Those numbers translate into one person killed or injured in crashes every 12.8 minutes during the counting period.

Every motorist can diminish the chances of becoming a statistic during the coming weekend. For many Missourians, an enjoyable Thanksgiving holiday begins with safe travel.

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