Motorists urged to be patient and drive safely over holidays


Staff Writer

Monday, November 20, 2017

Local and state authorities are urging motorists to slow down during the Thanksgiving holiday weekend while patrols will be out in force to ticket speeders and anyone without a seatbelt.

The main thing drivers can do to increase their safety on the highway and the safety of other motorists is be patient, said Rocky Mount police Cpl. Mike Lewis.

"You have a thousand things to do, but slow down and take time to be safe," Lewis said.

State officials remind residents driving to visit loved ones during the holidays to follow a few tips that could save their lives. Leave early and get a head start on the trip and try to travel during non-peak hours; put down cellphones and focus on the road since distracted driving is one of the main causes of crashes; and obey the posted speed limit.

“Yours and others’ lives matter – the turkey and stuffing can wait,” said Katie Trout, a spokeswoman for the N.C. Department of Transportation.

Avoiding hefty fines is another good reason to slow down, officials said. The N.C. Governor’s Highway Safety Program along with state and local law enforcement is set to kick off of its annual Thanksgiving Click It or Ticket enforcement campaign today. The campaign runs through the weekend.

Since its inception two dozen years ago, the Click It or Ticket program has increased driver seat belt awareness and usage rates and reduced fatalities across North Carolina, said state transportation spokesman Jonathan Bandy.

Nearly every law enforcement agency in the state participates in the initiative, and it’s one of the most well-coordinated and cooperative law enforcement efforts of its kind in the nation, Bandy said.

The Click It or Ticket campaign complements the NC Vision Zero initiative, which aims to save lives on North Carolina roadways. The goal is to reach zero traffic-related fatalities through coordinated agency-to-agency efforts that help reduce risky driving behaviors by changing the overall traffic safety culture.