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ALEA: Stay safe on the roads during holiday travel

Make sure you get to your destination safely this holiday season.

HUNTSVILLE, Ala. — If you find yourself on the road over the next couple of days, here are some tips to keep things merry and bright - and stress-free - while traveling during the holiday season.

If you need to pull over for whatever reason, you get a flat tire or have a fussy kid in the back, whatever it may be, it's important that you pull over to the side of the road safely.

"Always remain calm, first make sure that you're able to get over safely, that it's clear traffic," said Alabama Law Enforcement Agency Senior Trooper Brandon Bailey. "Always use a signal, a lot of times we get complacent and forget to do the simple things.

Bailey says if you're in an unfamiliar area and find yourself in need of help, you can dial *HP to get connected to the nearest state troopers office.

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Another thing to remember while on the road is to make sure everyone is buckled up and buckled up properly.

"If you're a driver I urge you to look around, make sure all your passengers, if you have children, make sure they're in a child restraint. Make sure everybody's buckling appropriately," said Bailey. "We see a lot of times where people in a vehicle, they take the shoulder belt and put it under their arm and doing that it's gonna cause more harm than good."

Bailey says you should make sure to have a route planned out ahead of time and to make sure to be aware of weather and road conditions.

"When we talking about road conditions, it's always good to check the weather because you don't want to get in your vehicle and think you have X amount of time to get to your destination but it's raining and you still try to you know, go over speed limit to get to it because you know, we live in a very impatient time and people don't want to take the necessary time to get to a destination safely, they just want to get there," said Bailey.

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Lastly, Bailey gave a reminder to move over whenever you see law enforcement pulled over to the side of the road.

"If you can't do it safely, the thing to do is lower your speeds to 15 miles per hour under the speed limit. Therefore, if it was something to happen, that it will kind of lessen the effects from decreasing your speed," said Bailey.

In addition, ALEA offers the following traffic safety tips for preparing for the wintry weather, as well as for traveling in hazardous conditions: 

  • Do not utilize your vehicle’s cruise control, which creates issues and could cause you to lose control of your vehicle, especially when crossing frozen or iced-over bridges.
  • Monitor local news for information on weather conditions and travel advisories, and check road conditions at https://algotraffic.com/.
  • Report traffic crashes or other emergencies by calling 911.
  • Remain alert for emergency vehicles and obey Alabama’s “move over” law.
  • Keep vehicles in good operating condition. Check antifreeze levels, use windshield washer solution suitable for freezing weather conditions, and keep gas tanks at least half full. 
  • Remember weather and roadway conditions can deteriorate quickly. Adapt speeds to existing roadway conditions and be alerted to changing weather and the possibility of icy and slippery roads.
  • Unlike tornadoes or thunderstorms that can pop up in a matter of minutes, winter storms usually provide us with days to prepare. Advisories, watches, and warnings are issued by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and the NWS. We encourage everyone to stay connected with their local news stations, as well as ALEA’s social media pages, for updates on weather and road conditions.
  • During inclement weather, turn on headlights and windshield wipers, and maintain a safe distance between your vehicle and other vehicles.
  • Pay attention to bridges and overpasses, which tend to develop hazardous “black ice.”
  • Keep a blanket, first-aid kit, charged cell phone and other emergency supplies in your vehicle. 

Before the Storm Tips: 

  • Create a family plan for winter emergencies and discuss how to stay safe in all conditions.
  • Stay aware by monitoring the local forecast via radio, TV, internet, and/or smartphone alerts.
  • Check both your home and your car’s emergency supply kits to ensure everything is in working order.
  • Update your smoke detectors and carbon-monoxide detectors to versions that have a battery backup. 

During the Storm Tips: 

  • Avoid being on roadways. 
  • Bring in pets who usually stay outside. 
  • Stay indoors as much as possible. If you absolutely must go outside, keep the duration of your trips short. 
  • Remember the most effective way to stay warm is by wearing multiple layers of clothing. 
  • Keep an emergency supply kit in your car if you cannot avoid driving. Be extra careful driving and remain aware of your surroundings.
  • DO NOT use a stove to supply heat for your home. Likewise, do not use outdoor grills or gas/propane heaters. 
  • Do not use generators indoors. Plug appliances directly into your generator. DO NOT plug your generator into your household’s electrical wiring.

After the Storm Tips:

  • Make sure roadways are safe before driving. While precipitation may have stopped, roads can remain dangerous to drive on for days afterward.
  • Dress appropriately for the temperature. Continue dressing in layers and avoid extended exposure.
  • Stay away from downed lines, and DO NOT pull tree limbs off downed power lines or make repairs to Alabama Power equipment. Call 1-800-888-2726 and wait for help.

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