Officials offer tips to stay safe in busy holiday traffic

Published 2:08 am Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Last minute shoppers, family en route to Christmas gatherings and everyday traffic will combine this week for one of the busiest traffic seasons of the year and local officials warn motorists to take simple precautions to ensure their trip is safe.

Andalusia Police Chief Wilbur Williams said the first step to proper travel safety is to let someone know your travel plans before you leave.

“It is always good to let someone know your plans,” he said. “Let them know when you expect to leave, what route you expect to take and when you expect to arrive at your destination. If you do not arrive at the location, then at least someone will have some idea of where you might be. They can, in turn, let authorities know what route you intended to take and where to begin looking if something were to happen.”

Opp Police Chief Nickey Carnley said travelers should use extra caution this week when traveling the U.S. Highway 331 South bypass.

“As I have always been told, where you are going will be there when you get there,” he said. “There is no reason to rush, most often breaking the law by speeding, and increase your chance of being involved in an accident. Observe the traffic lights on the bypass. Do not take any chances trying to get through a yellow light when it changes. There is most often someone else waiting for their red light to turn green.”

Both Carnley and Williams said their departments will be operating full shifts throughout the holiday season and will be paying close attention to drivers who chose to drink and then get behind the wheel of an automobile.

“This is a time of year when people seem to consume an awful lot of alcoholic beverages and then insist on trying to drive home,” Williams said. “Have a designated driver. Do anything you can to avoid that situation.

“There will be a tremendous amount of traffic,” he added. “The state has committed to doing everything they can to make the holidays safe. We have a full shift schedule throughout the holiday season. We will be concentrating on the obvious situations — the drunk drivers and the speeders. Those are the two categories that seem to cause the biggest problems this time of year.”