Monday, November 19, 2012

Drive to stay alive this Thanksgiving

Oklahoma roadways are expected to be busy during the Thanksgiving holiday period, and the Oklahoma Highway Patrol is urging motorists to take extra precautions to keep drivers and
passengers safe.

“While you’re making those important holiday plans, take a little time to make smart choices about your travel, too,” said OHP Captain Damon Tucker, Commander of Troop C OHP headquarters.
Tucker said anyone who attends a gathering where alcohol is served should plan ahead to designate a nondrinking driver. “If you’ve been drinking, don’t get behind the wheel, period,” he said.

He also urges drivers to be aware of the side effects of both prescription and over–the–counter medications.

“Many people don’t realize that medicines can cause impairments too,” he said. “Always talk to your doctor or pharmacist about potential side effects, and don’t drive if you’re taking a medication that can cause sleepiness, dizziness, or impaired reaction time.”

The OHP also recommends other steps for safe Thanksgiving travel: 

  • Make sure all children in your vehicle are placed in age–appropriate car seats and all adults are buckled up.
  • Plan ahead for inclement weather, and make sure your vehicle contains
    appropriate emergency equipment.
  • Don’t allow distractions. Put away the cell phone and electronic equipment while driving.
  • Don’t drive drowsy. Get plenty of sleep before driving, and schedule frequent stops along the way.

“If you see an impaired driver on the road, contact local law enforcement or dial *55 from any cell phone to alert the Oklahoma Highway Patrol,” Tucker said. “Our goal is to keep Oklahomans safe on the roads this holiday season.”

In 2011, the Thanksgiving holiday period began at 6 p.m. on Wednesday, November 23 and ended at midnight on Sunday, November 27. During this time six people died in four fatal crashes on Oklahoma roadways. One of the six fatalities occurred in an alcohol–related crash. 5 of those fatalities occurred in the Troop C area which consists of 7 counties.

As a result of last years fatalities and crashes, Cpt Tucker says there will be extra manpower in the Troop C area more specifically the I 40 corridor. The most traveled day the entire year is the day before Thanksgiving, therefore Troop C Troopers will be out in full force that day. Aircraft and speed laser and unmarked units will be used to find speeding violators, and saturation patrol will be used to find seatbelt violators and intoxicated drivers.

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