MILLEDGEVILLE — A little more than halfway into this year’s Christmas holiday travel period, and already the number of traffic accidents and fatalities had increased compared to 2011. Now that the Christmas travel period has ended, we shift our focus to New Year’s travel, which officially begins on Friday.
The 102-hour travel period resulted in more than 300 accidents statewide and, as of press time Christmas Day, 10 fatalities. Fortunately, Baldwin County remained unscathed, but that does not mean local drivers should let down their guard as they ring in the New Year.
Georgia highway officials will be stepping up road checks and patrols in an effort to keep our roadways safe through the remainder of the year.
Let’s all also make a concerted effort to prepare for extended trips by knowing the travel itinerary, the weather forecast and road conditions before for we set out to our destination. It’s also a good idea to leave behind a detailed travel itinerary with a point of contact in case of an emergency.
Remember also that there are younger, less experienced drivers among us, which is why it is not enough to be on guard in our own vehicles. Know too that there may be a heavier number of visitors in town who may not be as familiar with the area or are a little less knowledgeable of particular intersections or high-traffic locations — and we should be on the lookout.
Distracted drivers — those who text — as well as speeders pose just as much a threat to our safety. Drivers must also be on guard for what may be going on in the next vehicle as well.
If you choose to drink, choose a designated driver, and be mindful of friends and family members who have been drinking to ensure there safety and the safety of others.
The New Year's holiday period begins at 6 p.m. Friday and ends New Year’s Day. Enjoy the season but take precautions.
Let’s keep it safe as we ring in 2013.