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With Thanksgiving quickly approaching, we have a lot on our minds.

We have to rush to get finished with our work so we can enjoy the holiday. We have to plan for meals, shop for food and perhaps clean the house for guests.

Many of us will be traveling, and we need to think beyond packing and taking the ideal route. We need to plan for safety as well.

Even during the current pandemic, traffic will increase as we get closer to Thanksgiving.

The Missouri Highway Patrol urges drivers to make sure their vehicles are in good condition and that they are well rested before getting behind the wheel. Always avoid speeding, driving aggressively and driving while impaired.

"Every driver needs to pay attention," said Col. Eric Olson, superintendent of the Missouri Highway Patrol, in a statement. "Driving is a full-time job. Please turn off your cellphone, drive sober and remember to buckle up. We want everyone to have a safe Thanksgiving holiday."

The public is encouraged to call the Patrol's Emergency Report Line (800) 525-5555 or *55 on your cellular phone if they witness criminal activity or experience an emergency. These phone numbers are operational for both highway and water emergencies.

Troopers will be participating in Operation C.A.R.E., enforcing all traffic laws, and assisting the public. Over the 2019 Thanksgiving holiday period, 11 people were killed and 634 injured in 1,594 traffic crashes.

The counting period for the 2020 Thanksgiving holiday weekend is from 6 p.m. Wednesday through 11:59 p.m. next Sunday.

Whether you're traveling across the country or across town, let's each do our part to reduce those numbers this year. That would be something for which we could all be truly thankful.

News Tribune

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