Although the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have discouraged traveling for the holidays, many students at Brigham Young University still plan on making the trip. Utah safety officials want to remind drivers and passengers to buckle up.
BYU is going fully online after Thanksgiving break, and the school has encouraged any students who return home to stay there and finish fall semester at home.
The rapidly spreading COVID-19 virus, combined with holiday traffic, could make for a dangerous weekend.
Many are struggling with the difficult decision of whether or not to return home.
According to the CDC, both travel and traditional Thanksgiving gatherings can increase the chances of spreading COVID-19.
The CDC website lists several recommendations for how to hold a safer Thanksgiving. They recommend not gathering except with your household.
But even if it were a non-virus year, driving home for the holidays is plenty dangerous.
Last year in Utah alone, there were 600 crashes and four deaths over Thanksgiving weekend.
Utah Highway Patrol (UHP) just released a video of a 2018 nearly head-on car accident to remind everyone of Utah’s “click it or ticket” policy. A wrong way driver collides straight into a Utah couple’s car, rolling the vehicle several times and totaling the car. The people in this car were wearing their seatbelts, and they survived.
“We know it’s cliche and we say it all the time, but buckle up,” said Lieutenant Nick Street of Utah Highway Patrol. “Less than 10% of the state’s population chooses not to wear a seatbelt, but that 10% makes up 30% of our fatalities.”
According to UHP data, 18 to 34 year old men are the most likely to not belt up, and die as a result.
UHP said for a safe trip, holiday drivers should also make sure their cars are ready for winter weather conditions.
Check your car for enough wiper fluid, good tread on your tires, working headlights and signals, and a good battery.
“Make sure that you are devoting 100% of your focus when you are behind the wheel on driving,” said Street.
Street said due to weather and more animals migrating, November roads can be extra dangerous. He also said to watch your speed and utilize cruise control to make sure you don’t go too fast.
The CDC does discourage travel and large gatherings, but if you choose to make the trip for Thanksgiving this year, make sure you take the proper precautions.