The upcoming holidays will bring family and friends together as 2018 winds to a close. Unfortunately, some will choose to make life-threatening driving decisions while behind the wheel. Captain Cory Ristvedt, Illinois State Police District 12 Commander, encourages everyone to enjoy the holidays, but to do so responsibly. Motor vehicle crashes are a leading cause of injury and death in the U.S., and traffic crashes are largely preventable. If traveling during the holidays, please be accountable for actions behind the wheel. We each take part in preventing traffic crashes. If you are attending a holiday celebration where alcohol is involved, please make sure to use a designated driver or make necessary arrangements to ensure an intoxicated person does not get behind the wheel of a vehicle. Before starting your holiday road trip, make sure everyone in the vehicle is buckled up. When seat belts are properly worn, the risk of fatal injury is estimated to be cut in half. Also, be sure to eliminate distractions. Taking your eyes off the road for any reason is risky. Looking at a cell phone for five seconds at 55 mph is like driving blind for the length of a football field. Be sure to watch your speed. The faster you are going, the less time you have to react when trying to avoid a crash. Furthermore, the faster you are going, the greater the chance of a crash resulting in serious injury.