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NCSO offers up tips for travel

COVINGTON -- Sgt. Randy Downs of the Newton County Sheriff's Office's Traffic Unit has proposed Rules for the Road for those who are traveling or just driving around town shopping during the last-minute Christmas rush.

During last year's Christmas season alone, 25 people died statewide in traffic accidents. There were 15 fatality wrecks in Newton County last year -- the last two of the year occurred one day before and one day after Christmas.

"Traffic can be frustrating, especially on interstates during the holiday season," Downs said. "People are coming from and going to everywhere to visit family and friends and shop for themselves and their loved ones. Here are a few easy tips to help you stay safe on the roads during the busy holidays and even into the new decade:

Pay Attention

"When you are behind the wheel, your life and the lives of the people in the car with you are at stake. Cars go dangerously fast; even speeds that one might consider rather slow can be enough to kill. While your vehicle is in motion and even when it's not, it is important that your eyes are on the road and nowhere else.

Follow the Rules

"Roads come with many signs designed to help drivers understand where they need to go and how best to get there safely. There are signs not only along the roadsides, but also painted on the roads themselves. While stuck in traffic or while in a hurry, some drivers will drive through chevrons (those V-shaped stripes that are most often seen marking highway exits) or illegally taking an HOV carpool lane, or even driving through the shoulder or median of the road. They will speed. They will make illegal turns. And, they will perform various other illegal maneuvers that endanger the lives of those around them.

"Don't be one of those drivers. Remember that the rules of the road are designed not only to keep things running smoothly, but also to keep you safe.

Relax

"It's easy to get frustrated on the road, especially when someone cuts you off, or there's bumper-to-bumper traffic, or that one horribly mean red light just manages to get you. Please remember that driving is not for the impatient. Road rage isn't uncommon, but it never helps a situation.

"If you follow these tips, you and your family will have a safer holiday season. Happy holidays and good luck through the coming year," Downs said.