The National Safety Council estimates that 384 people will lose their lives this holiday weekend in fatal car accidents. More than 40,000 more will seek medical attention for injuries suffered in crashes. The NSC is publishing this information as an effort to encourage people to drive responsibly this weekend.

Here in West Virginia, many people left work early to kick-start the long weekend. A number of families are packing up their cars and heading to cabins or to the homes of friends and family to celebrate the holiday. Others are driving to the airport, or just staying in town for celebrations. Whatever your plans are, you can expect traffic to increase, and with this comes drivers who are in unfamiliar territories and those who may be behind the wheel after having too much to drink.

In order to avoid contributing to the NSC’s statistics above, it is crucial to avoid drinking and driving, as well as speeding and distracted or drowsy driving. The NSC is also encouraging drivers and passengers to wear their seatbelts this weekend. About 139 lives will actually be saved over the holiday weekend due to seatbelt use, according to NSC estimates.

In addition to making sure that you are buckled up, the NSC wants drivers to ensure children are in proper booster seats. Drivers should also avoid cellphone use, according to the NSC warning. Additionally, it is important to use caution and drive defensively, particularly because there will be drivers out there who are lost and those who are breaking traffic laws.

If we all take our responsibilities seriously as drivers here in West Virginia, maybe we can prove the NSC wrong. Maybe 382 people will not have to lose their lives this weekend.

If you do become the victim of a car accident, you may benefit from talking to a car accident attorney about your legal options.

Source: National Safety Council, “National Safety Council Estimates Nearly 400 Fatalities from Crashes this Memorial Day Weekend,” May 19, 2014