COLUMBUS, GA (WTVM) - The Thanksgiving weekend is the most dangerous holiday for car crashes and 418 people are expected to die in car crashes this weekend, according to the National Safety Council.
With nearly 41 million people hitting the road for their holiday weekend trip, Al Barber with Barber's driving school says it's important to follow a few safety tips to stay safe and to avoid accidents on the road.
"Everyone is in a hurry and everyone is anxious to get to their destinations," Barber said. "There could be many speeders and drunk drivers on the highway throughout the holiday weekend."
While many might only think about driving carefully on the highway, Barber explains drivers need to pay attention when moving through parking lots during the busy weekend as well.
"Every year we have people backed over in front of the shopping centers or grocery stores," Barber said. "Make sure to crack your windows and look all around the car before you back out. Keep your foot on the break the entire time you are driving through parking lots and if you can, park your car in a way you don't have to back out and you can just drive out forward."
According to Columbus Police crime stats, a total of 11,988 traffic accidents happened in Columbus 2013. Out of these traffic accidents, 4,034 traffic accidents occurred on private property, according to the data.
"A third of all private property collisions that happened in Muscogee County mainly happened on parking lots," Barber explained.
Barber also said with Black Friday sales going on and Cyber Monday sales coming up, he says people need to put their phones away when driving.
"People will text and also shop on their smart phones while driving," Barber said. "They're trying to find that sale when sitting in traffic or even driving, but not being able to focus on the road will cause huge problems."
Barber says while texting and driving has become a leading cause of car accidents among young drivers nationwide, day dreaming is still the number one reason for wrecks in America. He also says people shouldn't be drinking and driving since motorists need to pay attention to the road.
Here are some tips drivers need to keep in mind to avoid traffic accidents:
-Keep some space between you and the front car
-Stay Alert! Keep your eyes on the road at all times
-Don't drink and drive
-Don't drive when sleep deprived.
"Drivers need to avoid distractions at all times," Barber said. "Daydreaming or having distractions from pets and passengers in the car can cause drivers to lose focus. Drivers also need to make sure they aren't distracted from other interference or amusement on the road or outside of the car as well."