Be safe on the roads

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According to the American Automobile Association, approximately 39.7 million motorists will hit the road during the upcoming Thanksgiving holiday, a 12 percent increase from 2009.
To help keep Kentucky’s roads safe, the Kentucky State Police will be boosting its road patrols and operating safety checkpoints throughout the Commonwealth beginning at 6 p.m. today, Nov. 24, and ending at 11:59 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 28. Coordinating enforcement efforts with local police and sheriff’s offices, KSP troopers and Commercial Vehicle Enforcement officers will cast a vast safety net designed to save lives.
“Higher traffic volumes, combined with increased numbers of out-of-state visitors traveling to or through the state, have the potential to produce added risk for highway travel,” says KSP Commissioner Rodney Brewer. “These are tragic and needless deaths,” he adds. “I urge all motorists to protect themselves and their fellow travelers by practicing the following simple, safe driving tips.”
· Don’t drink and drive.
Kentucky has a zero tolerance policy regarding driving while impaired by alcohol. Violators risk immediate arrest even for first time offenders.
· Buckle up.
This is one of the most effective methods to protect against injury or death in a motor vehicle crash. State law makes the driver responsible for assuring that all vehicle occupants are properly restrained.
· Use approved child restraints.
Kentucky law requires that all children 40 inches in height or less be buckled into a child safety seat that meets federal standards. Children more than 40 inches tall must wear a seat belt.
· Slow down and obey speed limits.
Studies show that higher travel speeds are responsible for a significant increase in highway traffic deaths.
· Get enough sleep.
Sleep deprivation and fatigue can cause lapses in attention, slowed awareness and impaired judgment.
· Be extra cautious around large trucks.
These vehicles have large blind spots and much longer stopping distances than passenger cars.
· Don’t tailgate.
Follow other vehicles at a safe distance.
· Expect the unexpected.
Watch traffic around your vehicle and be prepared to react. Scan the road ahead for potential hazards such as other vehicles and road debris.
· Take extra care on rural roads with 55 mile per hour speed limits.
· Avoid in-car distractions such as cell phone use, changing CDs, channel surfing or eating or drinking.
· Take frequent breaks to keep alert during long distance trips.
· Be extra alert around construction zones.
“Three out of four vehicle crashes happen within 25 miles of home at speeds of 45 miles per hour or less,” notes Brewer. “About 40 percent of all fatal crashes occur on roads where the speed limit is 30 miles per hour or less.”
Motorists can contribute to highway safety during the holiday period by reporting erratic, impaired or speeding drivers to the KSP toll-free hotline at 1(800) 222-5555.
Callers will remain anonymous and should be prepared to give a description of the vehicle, direction of travel and license number if possible.