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Editorial: Be safe for this holiday season

West central Minnesota is headed into the heart of holiday season, with Christmas about 10 days away. This is also the one of the deadliest times of the year on our nation’s roads.

The six-day period that includes Christmas had 18 percent more crashes than the Thanksgiving period and 27 percent more than New Year’s Day period, according to a University of Alabama study.

There are a number of factors: the Christmas rush and holiday stress. These factors are often compounded by drivers under the influence of drugs and/or alcohol.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration notes that 1,091 people were killed in DUI-related accidents last year from Thanksgiving to New Year’s Eve.

So as we hustle to get our Christmas shopping done and get ready for those holiday parties, it’s time to slow down and plan.

* Take a deep breath and slow down on the roads.

* Plan your shopping trips carefully, so you don’t have to make those trips multiple times.

* Before heading out for your Christmas or holiday party, pick your designated driver.

* If your friend has been drinking, take their keys and drive them home or let them sleep on the couch.

Afterall, we all want you to enjoy the Christmas season this year and into the future.