The Enid News and Eagle, Enid, OK

November 17, 2012

EPD offers safety tips for Thanksgiving travel

By Cass Rains, Staff Writer
Enid News & Eagle

ENID, Okla. — The Thanksgiving holiday is one of the most heavily traveled times of the year, and more than half a million Oklahomans are expected to travel this season.

Last year, six people died in four fatal crashes on Oklahoma roadways during the Thanksgiving holiday.

“If driving a motor vehicle to visit family and friends is the plan this long holiday weekend, the Enid Police Department encourages the following tips to make sure you get there safely,” said EPD Lt. Mark Blodgett.

• If drinking alcohol is part of your holiday activities, plan ahead to designate a non-drinking driver. If a designated driver is not available, do not drive. Other means of sober transportation, such as taxis and public transportation, should be used.

• 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 cell phones and electronic equipment while driving.

• Don’t drive drowsy. Get plenty of sleep before driving, and schedule frequent stops along the way.

• Let someone know of your travel plans, what route you will take and what time to expect you at your destination.

“The Enid Police Department wishes all the citizens of Enid a safe and joyful holiday weekend,” Blodgett said. “However, if drinking alcohol is part of your festivities, do not operate a motor vehicle while under the influence.

“If you’ve been drinking, arrange for sober transportation or stay put.”

AAA-Oklahoma said about 578,500 Oklahomans are expected to travel during the holiday weekend this year, a 1 percent increase over last year.

The holiday weekend is Nov. 21 through Nov. 25.

Despite the overall increase, AAA-Oklahoma said the number of Oklahomans traveling by air is expected to decline by 1.2 percent to about 48,750. AAA also said the average distance traveled from home is expected to drop from 706 miles in 2011 to 588 miles this year.

Those projections are based on a joint analysis of travel trends with Colorado-based IHS Global Insight.

Before leaving for a trip, motorists are urged to check their vehicle’s fluid levels, tire pressure, headlamps and tail lights to ensure all are at appropriate levels and functioning properly.