Highway safety officials are urging motorists to take extra precautions to keep drivers and passengers safe during the Thanksgiving holiday travel period.
“While you're making those important holiday plans, take a little time to make smart choices about your travel, too,” Oklahoma Highway Patrol Lt. Garrett Vowell said in a news release.
In 2011, six people died in four crashes during the Thanksgiving holiday period — from 6 p.m. Wednesday to midnight Sunday. One of the accidents was alcohol-related.
Vowell said anyone who attends a gathering where alcohol is served should 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 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 Oklahoma Highway Safety Office 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 cellphone 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 cellphone to alert the Oklahoma Highway Patrol,” Vowell said. “Our goal is to keep Oklahomans safe on the roads this holiday season.”
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