Police talk driving safety ahead of holiday travel
Michigan State Police reported there were 297,023 total crashes statewide in 2015 and 74,157 people were reportedly injured from those. The report also shows there were 963 statewide crash-related deaths in 2015 with 303 of those deaths stemming from alcohol.
Anne Readett, communications manager at the Office of Highway Safety Planning in Michigan, emphasized the importance of being safe on the roads at all times.
“The two biggest things that we always stress are making sure the driver is sober and the driver and all the passengers are buckled up,” Readett said. “Those are the two most important things that people can do, but along with that, it’s also important that people obey speed limits and then, especially when we’re talking about holiday travel, (people) need to make sure they’re well-rested if they’re going to be driving a distance.”
During the four-day Thanksgiving holiday break last yeat, MSP reported 11 fatalities.
Readett said it is essential to take constant stops if traveling a long distance.
“If they’re driving a distance, they make sure that they take frequent stops so they can get out and stretch, rest and perhaps change drivers if that’s possible (and) that they do a quick vehicle safety check (to) make sure that their tires are properly inflated (and) that they have enough tread on their tires,” Readett said.
She also mentioned that those who are traveling during the holidays are often traveling on roads they do not often drive on and said drivers should always be aware of the speed limit.
Readett said with the increase of cargo and passengers, cars might handle differently.
“Often times we have more people and cargo in the car, so it drives a little differently, handles a little differently with more people in it, so it’s that much more important that people are cognizant of that and drive appropriately.”
For MSU police, traffic safety enforcement is heightened during the holidays.
“We’re here 365 days a year, 24 hours a day, and we’re always on patrol, so we will continue to patrol the streets, parking lots and campus areas,” MSU police Capt. Doug Monette said. “We’ll also have officers walk (on foot) in some of the academic and residential buildings to ensure that everything is safe during the holiday peak seasons.”
Monette added that MSU police’s focus is the security and safety on campus.
The County Road Association of Michigan’s main goal is to ensure the roads, streets, highways and bridges are properly maintained and safe for all who travel on them.
“We are in charge of 75 percent of the roads in Michigan,” the association’s director Denise Donohue said.
Donohue said people tend to become more “relaxed” during holiday travel, doing things such as turning up the music higher than usual, which puts those drivers and passengers at a higher crash risk.
She said drivers should always be mindful of the road conditions and weather conditions while observing speed limits and abstaining from substances that will distract someone from operating a motor vehicle.
If someone is planning on drinking, Donohue encourages them to get a designated driver to lessen the risk of a crash from arising.
If everyone keeps all of these tips and suggestions in mind, the roads can be much safer and everyone can spend time with their families and friends safely during the holidays, Readett said.