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This holiday, be thankful for safe drivers

Thanksgiving is a time to be with friends and family. For many of us, getting together to celebrate requires at least a little bit of traveling. In fact, according to estimates by AAA, more than 45 million people in the U.S. have plans to travel for Thanksgiving; most of them plan to travel by car.

This means there are a few things motorists in Atlanta should be especially aware of this week: more cars, more delays and more impaired drivers. All of these factors are holiday-related and could increase the risk of getting injured in a crash.

Holidays often mean higher traffic levels. People take time off of work and the kids get a break from school so this allows more people to be driving during the days. It can also increase traffic levels at night, as drivers may be attending holiday parties, getting some last-minute grocery shopping done or just staying up later during vacation time.

More cars on the road can also mean more delays, which can be frustrating. Between the anxiety that comes with the holidays and the fact that people might find themselves stuck in traffic and late, it is not unusual for people to get angry, aggressive or impatient behind the wheel. Those who cannot control these emotions can end up making some very dangerous and reckless decisions.

Holidays like Thanksgiving can also mean an increase in impaired drivers. People who stay up too late or don't get enough sleep can be fatigued; drivers may get distracted by the other people in their car or trying to navigate an unfamiliar area; drinking may increase for people who are celebrating or struggling with depression. Any of these factors will affect a person's ability to drive safely.

These are three major considerations drivers should take this week whenever they get behind the wheel. Practicing safe driving habits and being aware of increased risks can go a long way in preventing a devastating holiday accident.

Source: Fox 40, "More Americans Traveling This Holiday Week," Doug Johnson, Nov. 22, 2015

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