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Holiday Travel Safety Tips

Take these safety tips along on your holiday trips to ensure smooth travel and safe arrival at your destination. Alabama Law Enforcement Agency Senior Trooper Anna Peoples talks with Attorney Bryan Comer about ways to stay safe during holiday travel.

Hi, I’m Bryan Comer with the law firm of Tobias, McCormick and Comer and I’m joined again by Senior Trooper Anna Peoples. Trooper Peoples, thank you so much for being here as always, we love having you come by. We were talking before we started the video about kind of the message that ALEA, the Alabama Law Enforcement Agency wants to get out to motorists before they get on the road, whether it be on a trip, or if anything more than just running up to the store. Are there some things that y'all see that people can do perhaps preventative-wise to make sure that they're safe on the roadways and keep you all safe and other motorists safe?

Prevention is Key

Holiday Travel Safety Tips - Blow TireAbsolutely, what we like to stress to all our drivers on the roadway is that prevention is key. Always stay ready for the worst that could happen on the road. We try to tell everybody to pack the proper equipment in their vehicles when it comes to the maintenance of the vehicles and the equipment needed when it comes to changing tires, battery cables, things like that. We also want to stress to all of our drivers to try to keep your vehicle packed with food and snacks, drinks things like that just in case you're stranded out on the highway for a long period of time. We also like to stress to our drivers keep your gas tank at least half full because you never know once again whenever you could get caught in the middle of a wreck and stuck on I-10 for hours. We also try to stress to people take periodic breaks, stop at rest areas, gas stations, get out stretch your legs so that keeps you alert. We like to tell our drivers to always have a plan, always know where you're at. GPS doesn't always work in some of these rural areas, so we want people just to be prepared when they choose to travel for this holiday season.

Yeah and you really bring up a good point because I can't tell you how many times if I’m going to Montgomery or if I’m going to Birmingham it's almost a bit of a gamble if am I going to run into a serious accident or something that could have me stopped and I didn't even think about or hadn't before you and I talked about if you do get stuck and you're in the middle of nowhere sometimes those wrecks could take a long time - you can be stuck in your car for a very long period.

Yes, we've experienced it and that's why we do go as far to say there's no such thing as being too prepared because you'd rather be more prepared than not prepared at all whenever you're on the side of the road and stranded for hours and especially if you're traveling with children and you don't have the proper chargers needed to run their iPad and their phones and stuff to keep them distracted for those two three hours that you may be there. So that's another thing we like to stress people is check your chargers, make sure you have things like that to entertain your children in the car so that you're not distracted or trying to do anything that would put you in harm's way while you're sitting on the side of the road.

I know that I’m guilty as much as the next person of not keeping enough gas in the in the car I know that if I think I’m going to go to Birmingham or Tuscaloosa or something like that then I want to make sure that I got my tank filled up but even if you're running just an hour up the road you can still run into a situation where you can run out of gas. And if you're going from Spanish Fort to Mobile and the Bayway is your one way to go, we experience a lot more congestion on the bay way during the summer months and the holiday times, so you may be thinking you're making a quick trip and it turned into three hours stuck on the Bayway.

We also encourage people that if you are getting to where your tires go flat things like that try to find a good safe area to pull off of to the side of the road, as far right of that fog line as you can possibly get on the right side of the road because we experience a lot more motor assist and crashes during the holiday months and it's going to be troopers or our ALDOT showing up to change your tires and we don't have to lay in the roadway to change that tire. So we encourage you to get as far off of the roadways you can for our safety and yours because we may be the only lights out there that night, we're not always promised getting a truck there to help us with traffic so think about those kind of things whenever you experience any type of car trouble. Hit those hazards and get as far off the right side of the roadway as you can.

You bring up a very good point there I know I’ve seen particularly on really congested areas of interstate 10 and interstate 65 that sometimes maybe the problem happens in the left lane, and they just feel the need to go on over to that shoulder, but absolutely you don't want that to happen right? That's going to be the last resort. If you absolutely cannot get anywhere but off the roadway and that's on the left side, sure you have to do what you have to do, but if you can make it off of the right side of the roadway and as far away from that white fog line as you can get, just for our safety and yours because whenever you go to exit that vehicle people are not usually looking for that and so you don't want to exit the vehicle in the roadway and so get as far as you can off that right side of that roadway hit your hazards and we'll be there shortly.

Now one thing that I would like to talk with you about too with the holidays coming up, are there things that that people need to be mindful of as they're driving whether that be with increased traffic out there with increased congestion is there something that ALEA would like folks to keep in mind when they get behind the wheel here in the holiday season? Yes absolutely, so limit that distraction we understand you're going to be using your GPS whether that's on your phone or a console in your vehicle to travel the roadways but designate your passenger maybe to control those things for you, just limit that distraction because you never know what you're going to be meeting on the roadway if it's another distracted driver. And then just be aware that you may not be the one traveling for the holidays but there may be new people in your area traveling for the holidays that are not aware of their environment or where they're at so you're going to see people sudden lane changes, improper lane changes, no signal because they might not know where they are.

That's a great point too and I think that I’d be the first in line to say that I could do a better job of being patient behind the wheel just in general but especially when you have new people like that on the road people who might not be familiar with our area of town and more people that we all just need to kind of take a breath and drive defensively and be more alert of our surroundings. Yes absolutely. You can't control whenever you start to have maintenance issues with your vehicles or if you're involved in a crash that wasn't per se your fault but if it happens anywhere on a major structure any of our bridges, Bayway, things like that we do allow you to get out of the roadway. A lot of people think that because they're involved in a crash they have to stop right there in those lanes. If we have accidents with no injuries, we encourage you to move your vehicle off the roadway. It's only in the event that an injury has occurred in that crash when you cannot move those vehicles for ALEA. So, if it happens on the Bayway we encourage you to take the closest exit get down to the causeway make that phone call or if you're stuck on any of our bridges things like that please remove yourself from the structure if that is available for you to do.

Recap:

  • Make sure that you plan ahead before you get on the road
  • Make sure you have plenty of gas and supplies
  • Make sure your vehicle is properly maintained
  • Limit distractions
  • If you do experience trouble, get off the road on the right shoulder as far as you can and put on your hazard lights
  • Make sure that you're patient and you take your time, particularly with more people on the road
  • If you do get into a wreck and there are no injuries, it's completely okay for the vehicles to get off the roadway, either on the side of the road or at the next exit if you are on a bridge.

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