The National Safety Council (NSC) is urging Thanksgiving travelers to practice safe, responsible driving following an increase in deaths on the road.

More than 21,400 people may have died on the roads through the first six months of 2021, a 16 percent increase from the previous year, according to the NSC.

And the organization suggests a further 500 people may die on U.S. roads during this Thanksgiving holiday period, Wednesday, November 24–28, which is the highest projection of roadway deaths during the Thanksgiving holiday since 2007.

“Traffic fatalities continue to increase at devastating rates,” said Mark Chung, NSC Vice President, Roadway Practice. “It’s absolutely vital that anyone driving during the Thanksgiving holiday period practice safe, responsible driving behaviors because the good news is that losing lives on our roadways is preventable. Please do your part: prepare before traveling, buckle up, slow down, put phones away and drive unimpaired; it can make all the difference.”

NSC is calling on all drivers to prevent crashes and save lives this Thanksgiving by practicing the following:

  • Prepare before you go: Before hitting the road, make sure your car is safe for driving.
  • Buckle up: Seat belts are estimated to have saved 374,276 lives since 1975.
  • Drive distraction-free: Thousands have died in crashes involving cell phone use. Put your phones away.
  • Slow down: Speeding is a factor in more than a quarter of all traffic fatalities. Drive the speed limit and do not exceed it.
  • Designate a sober driver or arrange alternate transportation.