Vermont’s Governor’s Highway Safety Program reminds motorists that there will be an increased number of police patrols participating in the federally funded “Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over” enforcement campaign. In an effort to deter impaired driving, communities across Vermont will see additional checkpoints and patrols throughout the New Year holiday.
Each year, Thanksgiving starts the holiday season and Vermonters see an increase in traffic that continues through the New Year celebration. The American Automobile Association predicts an even greater number of motorists taking to the roads this season. In addition to the increased volume of traffic, motorists, busy completing holiday chores or visiting relatives, may be more distracted than usual. Some simple tips can help to avoid a tragedy during the holidays.
Think ahead. If you anticipate consuming alcohol, have a plan. Select a designated driver, use public transportation or another strategy to get to your destination and home safely. Do not drink and drive.
Always make sure everyone in the vehicle is wearing their seatbelts before you start your trip. Smaller children are required to be in approved safety seats and properly restrained.
Try eliminating distractions. Make a conscious effort to remain fully focused on driving safely. Do not use a cellphone or text while driving.
Be aware of winter conditions (snow, ice, sleet, wind) that may make your trip more hazardous. Allow a little extra time to reach your destination.
Watch for pedestrians and try to anticipate their actions. Remember, there are still bicyclists traveling the roadways—be alert and use care when passing them and share the road.
Speeding increases the severity of crashes. Obey speed limits and use common sense when driving in adverse weather conditions. Slow down.
Make sure your vehicle is mechanically safe, with fully functional tires, brakes, windshield wipers and all other recommended safety maintenance. Clear the windshield of all ice and snow to allow maximum visibility.
So far this year, 62 people have lost their lives on Vermont roadways. This is an alarming increase in fatal crashes. Many families will miss loved ones at this holiday season. Sadly, investigations indicate more than 35 of those who died were not properly restrained at the time of the crashes. Take the one second to increase your family’s safety by always buckling up.
For more information, visit www.ghsp.vermont.gov or www.nhtsa.gov.