Lieutenant Colonel Eric T. Olson, acting superintendent of the Missouri State Highway Patrol, reminds everyone that being courteous and attentive drivers increases safety on our roadways.

Lieutenant Colonel Eric T. Olson, acting superintendent of the Missouri State Highway Patrol, reminds everyone that being courteous and attentive drivers increases safety on our roadways.

Driving with the highest degree of care is everyone's responsibility. Expect an increase in traffic over the Thanksgiving holiday, which makes following all traffic laws even more important.

"We want everyone to have a safe Thanksgiving holiday," said Olson. "For that to happen, every driver needs to be committed to turning off their cell phone, following all traffic laws and staying sober when they are behind the wheel."

The counting period for the 2018 Thanksgiving holiday weekend is from 6 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 21 through 11:59 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 25. Troopers will be participating in Operation C.A.R.E., enforcing all traffic laws and be available to assist the public. Over the 2017 Thanksgiving holiday counting period, 17 people were killed and another 555 people were injured in 1,364 traffic crashes.

Whether you’re on the road visiting family and friends or out shopping for a good deal, please make sure your car is in good condition before you travel. It is also important that you are well rested before you start driving. Remember: There is never a reason to speed, drive aggressively or drive impaired.

Make sure everyone in the vehicle is properly restrained in a seat belt or child restraint. Every day as motorists travel on Missouri’s roadways, they trust that every driver on the road is going to obey the speed limit, pay attention and drive sober. “Don’t Violate The Trust.”

If temperatures are mild, boating or fishing might become part of your Thanksgiving holiday weekend plans. If so, remember there is less daylight, which makes your vessel's navigation lights essential. Check your lights and have extra bulbs on board before you head out. This time of year, the water is becoming colder and hypothermia is a concern. The body loses heat 25 times faster in water than in the air. If you take an unexpected plunge in cold water, it's important to get out of the water and into dry clothes as soon as possible. Most boaters wear more clothing this time of year, so the proper wearing of life jackets and using caution to avoid falling overboard is even more important.

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 them.

The public is encouraged to call the Patrol's Emergency Report Line 800-525-5555 or *55 on your cellular phone if they witness criminal activity or experience an emergency. These phone numbers are operational for both highway and water emergencies. If your celebration includes alcohol, designate someone else to drive whether you are in your boat or your car. Please don't become a statistic.