“Save space for safety” this Thanksgiving

Image from a photo agency

MONTGOMERY — This holiday season, travel experts are forecasting that over 54 million Americans will travel at least 50 miles or more from home during the 2022 Thanksgiving holiday season. Continuing the agency’s holiday tradition of ensuring public safety, troopers from the Alabama Law Enforcement Agency’s (ALEA) Highway Patrol Division have once again prepared for heavy traffic on Alabama’s roads, with the national average projected to exceed travel numbers in 2021 becomes. Based on these predictions and increases seen post-pandemic, focus has been placed on the state’s busiest corridors and areas, which have historically resulted in higher accident rates.

ALEA Secretary Hal Taylor said: “Fortunately, we’ve seen an overall decrease in traffic-related fatalities on Alabama’s roads since 2019, when tragically 11 people lost their lives during this busy Thanksgiving travel season. We want to ensure this trend continues and we encourage everyone to “save room for safety” this holiday season by preparing your vehicle before your trip, starting early and avoiding risky driving behaviors such as tailgating, speeding and distracted driving avoid driving. ”

“The holiday season should be one of joy and happiness, a time for families and friends to rejoice and celebrate together, not a time to mourn the loss of a loved one. However, it is the tragic and senseless loss of life due to this careless and dangerous driving behavior that motivates and drives me and the staff of this agency to remain focused on our mission to protect the lives of all individuals who travel on Alabama roads.” he continued.

This year, the official travel window for the Thanksgiving holiday begins on Wednesday, November 23 at 12:01 AM and ends on Sunday, November 27 at midnight. The agency recognizes and prepares for the many Alabamaans who begin and end vacation travel outside of these timeframes, which is why ALEA Soldiers will be proactively patrolling throughout the state before and after the busy Thanksgiving holiday.

“Our Troopers in the Highway Patrol Division have been working diligently to reduce accidents and fatalities across the state through a variety of highly visible enforcement details. We continue to focus our efforts on educating the public regarding dangerous driving behaviors such as distracted driving,” said Colonel Jimmy Helms, director of ALEA’s Department of Public Safety (DPS).

There are a variety of activities that can distract drivers, such as B. Eating or drinking, talking to passengers in your vehicle, but none is more alarming than texting while driving. When sending or reading an SMS, your gaze wanders off the road for 5 seconds. At 55 miles per hour, that’s like driving the length of a football field with your eyes closed.

“You absolutely cannot drive a vehicle safely unless you give your full attention to the operation and the task at hand. If you engage in any non-driving activities behind the wheel, you put yourself and others at risk by increasing the likelihood of an accident,” said Colonel Helms.

ALEA offers the following tips to avoid distracted driving:
1. Use your cell phone only in emergency situations. When you need to make a call or send a text, keep your right shoulder secure. Even hands-free kits can still cause you to miss important visual and audio cues needed to avoid an accident.
2. Avoid long conversations on social media, and don’t scroll through social media or watch videos while driving.
3. If you are sleepy, get off the road. Drowsiness increases the risk of an accident by almost four times. If you feel tired, get off the road; Don’t try to get home faster.
4. Limit the number of passengers and the level of activity in the car. Be aware of the state Graduated Driver’s License (GDL) Act. In Alabama, 16-year-old drivers are not allowed to have more than one non-family passenger in the vehicle at any time. Driving with friends can create a dangerous driving environment as novice drivers focus on their friends rather than the road. Learn more about the country’s GDL law HERE.
5. Avoid eating while driving. Being busy is no excuse for distracted driving. Food spills are a major cause of distraction.
6. Multitask outside of the car. Everyone spends a lot of time in their vehicles and it seems like the perfect time to get small things done, but those small tasks require attention off the road and from the drivers around you