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How to Prepare for Your Thanksgiving Road Trip (Guest Blog)
By Guest Blogger | November 21, 2014 | Filed in: General


Thanksgiving is the busiest travel time of the year, so before you hit the road this year, make you and your car are prepared with our list below.

Plan Ahead

Using GPS or good old-fashioned maps, plan out the route you’re going to take as well as an alternative in advance. Anticipate the places along the way where delays are most likely to take place and plan out ways to avoid them. This way, if you get caught up in traffic on your determined route, you can switch smoothly to your alternate without losing too much time (or patience.)

Travel at Off-Peak Times

Consider hitting the road on Monday or Tuesday before the crowds rush out on Wednesday. On your way back, consider driving back on Friday and enjoying the weekend at home instead of in traffic on Saturday or Sunday. If you have the time, you might even extend your visit to drive home on Monday to avoid the Sunday rush home. Check out peak hours at toll plazas—many of them list these times online—and plan your trip to avoid traveling through at these times.

Bring Your Toll Device

If you have a toll device that allows your state to electronically collect tolls, make sure to bring it along. This will help you avoid long lines at the toll plazas. If you don’t have one of these devices, make sure that you bring exact change so that you don’t have to worry about stopping for cash or digging around for the right amount.

Beware of Posted Travel Advisories

Before you leave, check out for any posted road travel advisories and current traffic conditions. You could also have a passenger check for updates on their mobile device during your ride to make sure that you know what’s ahead.

Take Breaks

Driving when you’re tired can sometimes be nearly as dangerous as driving under the influence. While it is tempting to push through to get to your location during stressful road trips, make sure to slow down and take breaks when you need to.  

Roadside Emergency Kit

In case you encounter any kind of emergency along the way, make sure that your car is stocked with jumper cables, blankets, non-perishable snacks and bottled water, a first-aid kit, signal flares, flashlight and batteries, jack and lug wrench, maps, and an extra quart of oil. Don’t forget your most important emergency item: a full-charged cell phone loaded with your emergency contact list!

Maintain Your Vehicle

Before you hit the road, have your mechanic give your vehicle a check up to make sure that the car is good working condition. If you don’t have time to visit your mechanic, make sure to check that your tires, brakes, and all fluids, including transmission, oil, and coolant level. Make sure that all of your lights are working so that you can see and be seen on the road. And don’t forget to check your windshield wipers—you don’t want to get caught in bad weather without ones that are working properly.

Finally, and perhaps most importantly, keep your eyes on the road and never text and drive. These tips will help you prepare for a road trip during the busy holiday travel season and arrive at your destination safely and on time. We wish you safe travels and a very Happy Thanksgiving!

Being There: How Caregivers Can Help Children Cope With the Loss of a Parent
By MADD | November 20, 2014 | Filed in: MADDvocate , Victim Services , Drunk Driving

Originally featured in the 2014 fall edition of MADDvocate.

Not only did Myra Constable lose her husband, Carie, in a drunk driving crash just before Christmas in 1999, her 23-month-old son, Nicholas, lost his father. Sadly, Carie was found alone in his car the morning after the crash. An autopsy revealed that his blood alcohol content was twice the legal limit.

Shortly after Carie’s death, Myra’s mother called the local MADD office for help, and soon Myra became a regular speaker for MADD Victim Impact Panels. Telling her story became a key component of her personal healing journey.

Also after the crash, Myra began to notice some changes in her son’s behavior. It began when people started coming by more often. Family and friends would gather, blanketing Myra and her son with embraces and tears.

“I first noticed that Nicholas was very clingy to me, especially when I would leave. Over the next couple of years he became really possessive,” Myra recalls.

“He did not want anyone else to hold him or anyone to talk to me.”

At that moment, Myra knew that she needed to help her son find his own path to emotional wellness.

Read the rest of Nicholas and Myra’s story, and how to help grieving children cope in MADDvocate.

Nationwide Partners with MADD this Holiday Season (Guest Blog)
By Guest Blogger | November 19, 2014 | Filed in: Drunk Driving

Provided by Nationwide Insurance® the National Presenting Sponsor of Tie One on For Safety® and the Power of Parents® program. Nationwide also offers exclusive discounts to MADD supporters, learn more.

Nationwide is passionate about safe driving and protecting what’s most important to people. That’s why we are proud to be the National Presenting Sponsor of MADD’s Tie One On For Safety® program, MADD’s longest running public awareness program to prevent drunk driving during the holidays – a traditionally dangerous time on America’s roadways.

The holiday season should be a time to celebrate with loved ones, but far too often holiday festivities lead to tragedy because of drunk driving. Drunk driving is 100 percent preventable, and we’re honored to help MADD save lives this holiday season.

Not only do we support Tie One On For Safety from a national level, but many of our Nationwide agents and local offices get involved with the campaign as well. Several Nationwide offices across the country encourage their customers to get involved with Tie One On For Safety by providing MADD red ribbons, and Nationwide agents often participate in local MADD events to help spread awareness about the dangers of drunk driving around the holidays.

Nationwide team members supported their local MADD Pennsylvania office by attending the Philadelphia Walk Like MADD event on November 2, 2014. They passed out water to the walkers and held a raffle to give away prizes to Walk participants.

Anyone can be a victim of drunk driving, which is why we’re proud to partner with MADD this holiday season to encourage safe, and sober driving, so that every family can enjoy the holidays, safe and sound.

Learn more about how you can participate in Tie One on For Safety at

You Make MADD's Lifesaving Work Possible
By MADD | November 18, 2014 | Filed in: General

As Thanksgiving and the holiday season approaches, we want to take this time to acknowledge and thank some of our supporters who provide products and services that benefit MADD’s mission and our members.

Thank you:

Nationwide® for supporting MADD and our members by offering exclusive insurance discounts for MADD supporters. Each Nationwide policy purchased through this partnership helps support MADD’s efforts. Nationwide is also a presenting sponsor of Power of Parents® and Tie One On For Safety®. Learn more» Nationwide
DialAmerica for donating 12.5% of the purchase price of magazine subscriptions to support the fight against drunk driving. Learn more» 
MADD Virgin Drinks for supporting MADD by offering an alcohol-free beverage alternative for designated drivers, as well as contributing 5% of net wholesale sales from participating Walgreens locations to MADD’s lifesaving efforts. Learn more»
Impact, LLC for donating $1 for each DVD sale of the documentary IMPACT: AFTER THE CRASH, to help commemorate the lives impacted in the worst drunk driving crash in U.S. history and to help raise awareness to prevent future drunk driving tragedies.  Learn more»
The LinkFund for donating 10% of each purchase made from their MADD Mementos Collection, where people can honor their loved ones with custom made bracelets.  Learn more»
UMB Bank for supporting MADD's mission and helping to raise awareness by offering the MADD Visa® Platinum Rewards Card, and donating $50 to MADD per new account when a purchase is made with the card within 90 days of issuance. Learn more»
AmazonSmile for supporting MADD’s programs by donating 0.5% of the price of eligible purchases to MADD made through Learn more» amazonsmile.png

And most importantly, thank YOU for your continued support of MADD and our mission. Whether organizations or individuals, the investment of MADD supporters’ time and money saves lives in communities across the nation.  

I Am Thankful
By Guest Blogger | November 17, 2014 | Filed in: Power of You(th) , Teen Influencer

by Alex Otte, a member of MADD’s National Teen Influencer Group

In my life, I have been greatly affected by other people’s decisions regarding alcohol. When I was 13 years old, I was run over by a drunk driver. I lost my leg and broke a lot of the bones in my body, including my neck, and also sustained a severe brain injury. My life was changed forever, to no fault of my own, but still I am thankful. 

Since then, I have received massive amounts of support from my friends, family, and MADD. I am thankful.

I was introduced to an incredible group of friends through my public speaking after the crash, and they have been my greatest source of influence and support. After watching what I have been through and what I struggle with daily as a result of a drunk driver, my friends greatly support my decision not to drink. I am thankful.

The majority of my friends share in my efforts to prevent the underage consumption of alcohol in every environment we find ourselves in. Alcohol not only affected me, it affected everyone in my life. All of my friends have had to watch me struggle for the last few years, and it has been hard on all of us. Not only do they support my refusal to drink underage, but they also don’t drink in honor of me and all of the other victims, but also in honor of themselves and their future.  

For all of these things and all of these people in my life I am thankful today and every day.

Alex Otte
2014-2015 National Teen Influencer
Senior, Trinity Christian Academy

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