The Thanksgiving holiday is just around the corner and experts are projecting that travel will climb to pre-pandemic levels.

That’s good news in many ways but it also presents a familiar problem that disappeared during the pandemic — safety.

The American Automobile Association predicts that more than 53 million people will travel for the Thanksgiving holiday, a 13% climb from 2020. In fact, the boost in travel is expected to the biggest single-year increase since 2005.

That means there will be a lot of traffic on the roads and highways, and it also means motorists will need to be cautious and attentive.

No one sets out on a holiday trip to get into a serious car crash. We pack out things, get the family vehicle ready to go and then head down the highway with high expectations to meet family and friends for the holiday.

Yet every year during Thanksgiving, or Christmas or other major holidays — such as the Memorial Day weekend — serious or deadly crashes are reported.

The reason run the gamut from bad luck to carelessness, but either way a holiday for at least someone turns to tragedy.

Such accidents are not guaranteed. Drivers can avoid such disasters by completing a few simple tasks, and at the top of the list is to pay attention.

Sure, a driver doesn’t have any control over someone else behind the wheel, but we can all take measures to avoid a terrible ending to a holiday weekend.

That means getting plenty of sleep before you get behind the wheel, and, if the journey is a long one, sharing driving duties. Tired drivers are apt to make poor judgements or have slow reaction times. Eight hours of good sleep is a small price to pay and one of the best ways to avoid ending in a serious crash.

While crashes on the highway seem to be inevitable, they are not. Driving defensively, paying close attention and sharing driving duties are easy and simple ways to avoid a tragedy.

The Thanksgiving and Christmas travel season should be one of joy and anticipation. Neither holiday should include a list of fatalities on the roadways.

Everyone wants to have a great time during the holidays. We want to visit our relatives and our friends but to do so we all need to make sure that as we travel to see our loved ones we take the necessary reactions to arrive safe.

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