Officials Urge Drivers to be Safe During Holiday Travel

While air travel can be a hassle during the holidays, it is statistically one of the safest means of travel. Holiday drivers on the other hand, hit the highways by the thousands and will need to be extra careful to reach their destination safely.

Gas prices are the lowest they have been all year long, and law enforcement feels this will contribute to more holiday drivers being on the road. With bad weather on the way, News 25 spoke to some local law enforcement agencies for tips for holiday travelers. The holiday season is a perfect storm for increased accidents, and with Christmas just days away, local law enforcement is expecting a busy couple of days. Corporal Benjamin Seibert of the Mississippi Highway Patrol says, "We’re going to be expecting a lot of wrecks. We always expect a lot of wrecks this time of year, especially with the weather."

A strong cold front will be making the weather outside frightful, and wet roads are not delightful with increased traffic. Lt. Milton Houseman Jr., Biloxi Police Supervisor, says, "There are more people off, so there are more people on the roads, more people out Christmas shopping, that type of stuff."

Drivers thinking about the perfect gifts for loved ones may not see you in their blind spot, and Biloxi Police offer some advice to stay safe. Houseman says, "Defensive driving is always the key. Always think about the vehicles in front of you, the vehicles behind you, and the traffic that surrounds you."

Distracted or impaired drivers and hazardous weather conditions are just a few of the obstacles that holiday drivers will have to overcome, but law enforcement is working overtime to try to make sure your holidays stay safe and happy for many years to come. Seibert also says, "Through the course of the day, driving a car is the most dangerous thing a person can do, and so many times with the Highway Patrol, we have to knock on doors and basically ruin someone’s holidays. If you’re in a bad car accident during the holidays or you lose a loved one, the holidays will always be marked with that tragedy."

While it’s great to be full of holiday cheer, driving your one horse open sleigh under the influence won’t be tolerated. Houseman closes, "We’re going to be looking for impaired drivers and try to get those folks off the road and make it safe to drive. That’s going to be our focus through the holiday season, through the Christmas holiday, the New Year holiday, and into 2015."

According to AAA, 98.6 million Americans will travel 50 miles from home or more this holiday season, so if you’re one of those, drive safely and have a happy holiday!

Categories: Local News, News