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Take care when hitting the roads
Thanksgiving a time for family, but caution must be taken
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We have a lot of blessings to be thankful for this Thanksgiving. There are gas prices that are among the lowest in the country and an economy that is showing signs of recovery.
So, nearly 4 million travelers from the West North Central Region (Kansas, Missouri, Nebraska, Iowa, Minnesota, and North and South Dakota) over the Thanksgiving, an increase of 4.7 percent and the highest volume of travel since 2007. This region will experience the largest percent of its population traveling than any other region, nearly 19 percent (18.8 percent).
That compares to the national average of 14.5 percent.
 The average distance traveled this Thanksgiving will be 549 miles roundtrip and Americans will spend an average of $573 during the holiday weekend.
 While more than 89 percent of travelers (41.3 million) will travel by automobile, a 4.3 percent increase from 39.6 million last year, 91 percent of West North Central region travelers will take a road trip. That is a 4.9 percent increase for regional auto travel over Thanksgiving.
This means we all hold our family and friends as very important and are willing to go to great lengths to visit them.
However, there is more to the trip than turkey and dressing. We’ve already seen examples this fall of just how fast winter-like weather can strike.
According to preliminary KDOT stats, during the 2013 Thanksgiving reporting period, there were 569 collisions, resulting in 150 injuries, and six deaths. Of these crashes, 48 were alcohol related, resulting in 27 injuries and three deaths.
Safety officials urge everyone to plan ahead by checking on weather and road conditions, planning their routes and preparing emergency kits should they get stranded in the cold. They also caution motorists to avoid distracted and impaired driving.
Remember, keep your eyes on the prize. This time of year is a time to be with family, but you have to get there safely first.
Dale Hogg