Arrive Alive…July 4th travel safety tips

Published 8:50 am Thursday, July 1, 2010

The Independence Day weekend is a time for celebrating the nation’s birthday.

In celebration, some people can get carried away and not remember to be safe.

The North Carolina Highway Patrol is urging everyone to keep safety in mind as they prepare for the impending holiday weekend.

“Our goal is for everyone to have a safe, enjoyable weekend with no one being injured or killed in traffic accidents,” said First Sgt. J.T. Lane of NCHP Troop A District II.

Lane said the best way to do that is to begin by making sure you’re prepared to travel.

“First of all, when you’re traveling, make sure your vehicle is travel worthy,” he said. “Make sure the car is serviced before you leave, check your tires and carry supplies with you.”

Supplies include water, a cellular phone and anything else that may be necessary if a vehicle breaks down. Sgt. Lane suggested using *HP on a telephone to contact the NCHP in the event of a breakdown.

“If you happen to break down, try to maneuver the car as far off the roadway as possible before attempting to make repairs,” First Sgt. Lane said.

The NCHP also suggests that obeying the law is the easiest way to avoid accidents and other issues during the holiday weekend.

“We encourage everyone to slow down, take your time and don’t drink and drive over the holiday weekend,” First Sgt. Lane said.

The NCHP also reminded parents to make sure their children are properly restrained in car seats.

For those who insist on not obeying the law, the local Highway Patrol District, which includes Bertie, Hertford and Gates counties will be a busy place.

“Every Trooper stationed in the district will be working this weekend,” First Sgt. Lane said. “Half of the officers will be working during the day and the other half at night.”

Those working during the day will be doing line patrols for speeders, aggressive drivers and impaired drivers on North Carolina and U.S. Highways. At night, officers will concentrate on manning checking stations for impaired drivers. Those stations will be located in all three counties in the district.

The local district office of the North Carolina Highway Patrol is part of a statewide program called “Operation Firecracker.” The program, which was announced by the Governor’s Highway Safety Program, will call for checkpoints and stepped up patrols across North Carolina beginning today (Thursday) and continuing through Sunday, July 4.

“Our law enforcement officers will be working hard to stop impaired drivers and ensure the safety of motorists traveling our highways,” said GHSP Director David Weinstein. “Driving while impaired is never worth the risk, and everyone should celebrate responsibly.”

Last year, North Carolina had 120 alcohol-related crashes over the Independence Day weekend. They resulted in six fatalities and 105 injuries.

Officers also charged more than 1,300 North Carolina motorists with driving while impaired during the 2009 “Operation Firecracker.” More than 4,800 stepped-up patrols and checkpoints were conducted.