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MSHP: Be a courteous, attentive driver this Thanksgiving weekend

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Missouri State Highway Patrol

Colonel Eric T. Olson, superintendent of the Missouri State Highway Patrol, has issued a reminder to drivers that, with the expected increase in traffic during the Thanksgiving holiday, drivers should remain alert to changes along their normal route. He said, regardless of traffic patterns, safety should remain a priority.

The counting period for the 2022 Thanksgiving holiday weekend is from 6 p.m., Wednesday, Nov. 23 through 11:59 p.m., Sunday, Nov. 27.

Troopers will be participating in Operation Combined Accident Reduction Effort (CARE), enforcing all traffic laws, and making themselves available to help the public.

During the 2021 Thanksgiving holiday counting period, 12 people were killed and 540 injured in 1,365 traffic crashes. Someone was injured or killed every 11 minutes over the 2021 Thanksgiving holiday.

Before taking a trip this holiday season, the patrol urges drivers to make sure their vehicles are in good condition and that drivers are sober and well-rested before they start driving.

“Remember: There is never a reason to speed, drive aggressively, or drive impaired,” an MSHP official said. “Too many people die in traffic crashes each year in Missouri. The choices you make when you’re behind the wheel matter. Make good choices, so you’ll never have to say, ‘If I could just go back …’”

If Missouri temperatures are accommodating, boating or fishing might become part of many citizens’ Thanksgiving holiday weekend plans. Missouri Water Patrol asks boaters to make sure their vessel’s navigation lights are operational. There is less daylight this time of year, so checking lights and having extra bulbs on board before heading out is imperative.

The water is becoming colder, and hypothermia is also a concern. The body loses heat 25 times faster in water than in the air of the same temperature. If a boater takes an unexpected plunge in cold water, it's important to get out of the water and into dry clothes as soon as possible.

“Always wear the proper life jacket and using caution to avoid falling overboard,” a water patrol official said. “Plan ahead: How would you exit the water if you inadvertently fell overboard? Does your boat have an exterior swim ladder to allow you to re-enter the vessel? It’s also important to tell someone about your plans to be on or near the water and where you’re going.

“Watercraft operators must consider the effect their actions have on others: Share the waterway and use common sense, good judgment, and courtesy to ensure the safety of all. Life jackets save lives. Wear it.”

If a celebration includes alcohol, it’s important to designate someone else to drive, whether it’s a boat or a car, the official added.

The public is encouraged to call the Patrol's Emergency Report Line (800) 525-5555 or *55 on their cell phones if they witness criminal activity or experience an emergency. These phone numbers are operational for both highway and water emergencies.

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