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Local officers offer tips for travel during holidays

Local law enforcement is offering some travel tips to help for Thanksgiving travel.

“Officers will be out on the roads enforcing all traffic offenses and looking for impaired drivers,” Port Arthur Police Det. Sadie Guedry said. “Plan ahead not only for a designated driver but to make sure you have enough time to get to our destination. During the holidays traffic is usually heavy with people shopping or visiting friends and family.”

Sgt. Stephanie Davis with the Texas Department of Public Safety said Texas Highway Patrol Troopers will increase enforcement starting Wednesday through Sunday. Troopers will be on the lookout for drivers who violate the law by not adhering to the “Move Over, Slow Down” law, failing to wear seat belts, speeding and driving while intoxicated, among other traffic violations.

“As we gather with family and friends to celebrate Thanksgiving, you will play a key role in keeping everyone safe as you travel n our roadways this holiday, DPS Director Steven McGraw said in a news release. “We urge drivers to celebrate the holidays responsibly by obeying traffic laws and monitoring weather conditions when traveling. DPS troopers will also work to protect Texans b y increasing traffic enforcement over Thanksgiving.”

Over the 2018 Thanksgiving holiday, DPS Troopers issued more than 74,000 traffic citations and warnings, including 956 seat belt and child safety restraint citations.

Here are some tips for safe travels:

  • Do not drink and drive. Make alternate travel plans if you are consuming alcohol.
  • If you can “Steer It, Clear It.” If you are involved in a non-injury crash and your vehicle can be moved, clear the traffic lanes to minimize impact on traffic. Leaving vehicles in a traffic lane not only increases traffic congestion, but it also leaves those involved with an increased risk of harm and chance for a secondary collision. On some highways, it is actually a violation of the law to not move your vehicle over when it is safe to do so.
  • “Move Over or Slow Down” for police, fire EMS, Texas Department of Transportation vehicles and two trucks stopped on the side of the road with emergency lights activated. Also, show the same courtesy to fellow drivers stopped along the road. As of Oct. 31, DPS Troopers have issued 23,611 citations and warnings for violations to the “Move Over, Slow Down” law in Texas in 2019.
  • Slow down — especially in bad weather, construction areas, heavy traffic and unfamiliar areas.
  • Eliminate distractions while driving, including the use of mobile devices. Texas law prohibits using portable wireless devices to read, write or send an electronic message unless the vehicle is stopped.
  • Buckle up everyone in the vehicle — it’s the law.
  • Drive defensively, as holiday travel may present additional challenges.
  • Don’t drive fatigued — allow plenty of time to reach your destination.