Holiday Patrol

By: Associated Press
By: Associated Press

Expect to see more state troopers out in full force during the Christmas holiday.

Troopers estimate six people will lose their lives in traffic accidents during the 30-hour Christmas travel period, which begins at 6 p.m. Tuesday and ends at midnight Christmas Day.

Last year 17 people died in traffic crashes during the Christmas holiday period. Extended Web Coverage

Holiday Driving Tips

Vehicle Preparation and Packing

  • Have your vehicle checked before traveling. Many garages offer safety checks for tire tread and pressure, lights, brakes, cooling systems and other components.

  • Make sure everything is securely stowed when you pack your vehicle. Even small objects can become dangerous missiles in the event of a sudden stop or a crash.

  • If you’re towing a trailer or caravan, load heavy objects evenly over all of the axles.

Trailers and Caravans

  • Check all towing attachments and make sure the couplings are compatible. Also remember to check the safety chain, trailer lights, tires and brakes.

  • Remember that if you are towing a trailer your maximum speed limit on the open road is 55 mph.

  • Keep right .

Driver Fatigue

  • Long journeys can be tiring and driver fatigue is a serious problem, contributing to 55 fatal crashes last year.

  • Get plenty of sleep before your journey and try to drive at times of the day when you are normally awake.

  • Take your time and plan for rest breaks every couple of hours. Get out of your vehicle and take a short walk or do some other exercise to get your blood flowing and improve alertness. If you feel tired, take a short nap (less than 40 minutes).

  • If possible, share the driving.

  • Don’t drink and drive and don’t speed. Many fatigue-related crashes also involve these two factors.

  • Use air conditioning if your vehicle has it. Cool air will keep you more alert and will help avoid frustration and stress, which is a major cause of fatigue.

Keep Your Cool

  • Be courteous - let others merge into traffic and use your indicators before turning or changing lanes.

  • Keep right unless passing.

  • Be patient and don’t be provoked by another driver’s aggressive behavior.

  • Watch out for children on the road. Young cyclists and pedestrians can be unpredictable and poor judges of vehicle speed.

Buckle Up

  • Too many family holidays are marred by tragedy when a crash occurs and people aren’t properly restrained.

  • It’s the driver’s responsibility to make sure that all passengers are wearing safety belts.

  • The law requires children to be restrained in approved child seats suitable to their size and weight.

Share the Road

  • Always keep a safe following distance between yourself and the vehicle in front. This gives you a safe stopping distance should the vehicle in front of you stop suddenly.

  • Be patient. Trucks and towing vehicles have lower speed limits. If you’re traveling behind a slower vehicle, wait for a passing lane or until you can see clear road ahead of you and enough space to overtake safely.

  • After overtaking a larger vehicle, don’t slow down quickly or cut in too closely. Larger vehicles take a longer time to brake and you could end up getting hit from behind.

  • Be aware that large vehicles may need more room to turn.

Source: A compilation of Web Reports contributed to this report.

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