The lengthy Thanksgiving vacation weekend is right here, and the No. 1 purpose of troopers with the Georgia State Patrol is decreasing the variety of automobile fatalities.
Final yr, 20 folks misplaced their lives in automobile crashes throughout the Peach State.
“Thanksgiving is all the time a really busy time of the yr,” stated Sgt. First Class Kevin Pope, commander of the Georgia State Patrol submit in Milledgeville. “Clearly, it kinda kicks off the winter holidays reminiscent of Thanksgiving, Christmas and New 12 months’s, our three fundamental journey holidays of the yr.”
The Thanksgiving vacation interval formally begins tonight (Wednesday) at 6 pm and runs till midnight Sunday.
Lately, Georgia has averaged between 15 and 20 deaths from automobile crashes.
“Usually, such fatalities occur because of dashing, distracted driving, and driving below the affect,” Pope stated. “These are the three fundamental causes.”
Climate circumstances can play a giant function within the variety of crashes throughout the lengthy vacation weekend, as rain is anticipated to fall on Black Friday and on Saturday throughout the state.
“Clearly, the climate does play [a role in the possibility of bad crashes and fatality crashes,” Pope said. “People have a tendency not to slow down in the rain like they should, so given the amount of traffic that will be out on the roads this weekend, combined with the bad weather, it could potentially be worst than in previous years as far as crashes and fatalities are concerned.”
Pope offered some safety tips that might reduce the number of crashes and fatalities.
The primary tip is don’t drive after consuming alcohol.
“Obviously, that’s No. 1,” Pope said. “We’re going to be out in full-force this weekend. And we’re going to be looking for impaired drivers.”
Pople said distracted driving is increasing on the roadways.
“It’s not just people talking on their phones and driving, but texting, playing on Facebook, or watching videos,” Pope said. “Those types of things are causing crashes and causing fatalities, too.”
The veteran trooper said the Georgia State Patrol wants to send a message to motorists.
“Don’t drink and drive,” Pope said. “And don’t be a distracted driver. Wear your seatbelt, slow down and put the phone down.”
He emphasized the importance of wearing seatbelt because they can save lives and keep an individual from being thrown out of a vehicle where they are more seriously injured or even worse — killed.
“The day before Thanksgiving (Wednesday) is going to be one of our busiest days,” Pope said. “The Georgia State Patrol and the Georgia Department of Public Safety Motor Vehicle Compliance Division will be very busy.”
Pope said every trooper assigned to the GSP Post No. 33 in Milledgeville will be working the holiday weekend.
Another thing that troopers will be mindful of when patrolling is motorists showing courtesy to other motorists, so as to prevent anything like road rage from breaking out.
“Road rage can get bad at times,” Pope said, noting that it can even lead to someone taking out a gun and pointing it at another motorist or worse — firing it at other individuals while driving along a roadway or interstate highway.
Pope said motorists should also pay close attention to large trucks, buses and campers along the roadways.
He said it’s also important for motorists to remember that it takes time for the drivers of larger vehicles to stop.
“Motorists need to be extra careful when pulling out in front of larger vehicles because they can’t just stop on a dime,” Pope said. “And it a trucker is loaded, it makes it very difficult to stop suddenly when you are carrying that much weight.”
Rainy conditions can create dangerous situations for motorists.
“We see a lot of people driving in the rain with no headlights on,” Pope said.
State law mandates that headlights on vehicles be switched on when it’s raining.
Pope also recommended that motorists do a pre-inspection of their vehicle before traveling.
“Make sure the headlights are working, as well as the signal lights, taillights, tag lights, and that there is proper air in each tire, because this is the time of the year when air can seep out of a tire,” Pope said.