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September 19, 2023

Accidents increase during holiday travel

When senior Hannah Berry makes the two-hour drive home for the holidays, she knows what she’s going to do to make it a safe journey.

“I’ve never really had troubles going home,” Berry said. “It’s pretty smooth.”

Berry said driving under the speed limit and being aware of her surroundings are how she drives safely, though not every driver is as sure as Berry when driving home for the holidays.

The National Safety Council estimates this past Thanksgiving alone had 436 traffic fatalities and 46,600 injuries that required medical attention.

While people might think accidents are more often the result of poor conditions, Sgt. Shawn Robinson of the Bowling Green post of the Highway Patrol said that isn’t necessarily true.

“It’s not so much that traffic accidents increase,” Robinson said. “There’s more traffic on the road. So any time you have more traffic on the road, there’s a greater chance for a traffic crash.”

Robinson said Berry’s mentality of obeying the speed limit and being aware is a good one to have.

“Drive defensively,” Robinson said. “Keep [state troopers] in mind.”

Senior Logan Duddy said he can rely on his truck’s traction to get home for Christmas, and said he takes extra precautions to ensure nothing goes wrong on the road.

“I’ve got a truck, so I usually throw it in four-wheel drive,” Duddy said. “I always try to know what the car is behind me a lane over … [I] check blind spots.”

Robinson said it is not a good idea to blame any one variable as the cause of accidents.

“There’s no one set answer for a traffic crash,” Robinson said. “Possibly they’ve been drinking or they’re impaired in any way, or they’re not paying attention and [are] distracted.”

Duddy said people can drive more safely by being more cautious.

“Go the speed limit; be defensive,” Duddy said. “I think we can all be a bit more conservative when we drive.”

Highway patrol in Wood County is not going to increase the intensity or number of patrols during exam week, Robinson said.

“We still do our job the same,” Robinson said. “We try and make sure we’re certainly visible.”

Driving defensively, Robinson said, is the key to getting home safely for the holiday season.

“Take your time, slow down,” Robinson said. “Especially in winter, make sure you’re prepared. You’ll never know if you’ll have a big snow storm or get stuck on the road.”

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