Since the Fourth of July falls on a Friday this year, plenty of people will have a three-day weekend. Except the police, who will be out in full-force to catch and – with hope – prevent drunk drivers from getting behind the wheel in the first place.
“Due to Fourth of July Weekend, some people may be tempted to drink and drive. Law enforcement officers across the country will be putting in extra hours to crack down on drunk driving,” said Sgt. Aaron Brower, Training Coordinator and Public Information Officer with the Texarkana, Texas Police Department.
And summer months alone are more dangerous behind the wheel than any other time of year, according to the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT).
“Summer is here, which means it’s time for summer vacations and road trips. People spend more time traveling on the nation’s roadways in the summer months than any other time of the year. Traveling long distances can make drivers drowsy or at risk of falling asleep or becoming impatient. TxDOT reminds drivers to stay well-rested and alert while making their way to summertime events and family vacations.”
TxDOT offers the following tips for driving safely during the summer months:
Tips for Highway Driving
• Always obey posted speed limits including in work zones.
• Move over when you approach a stopped emergency vehicle such as a police car, tow truck, or TxDOT vehicle with lights flashing. If safely switching lanes is not possible, slow down to 20 miles per hour below the posted speed limit. It’s the law.
• Keep a safe following distance behind the vehicle in front of you. You never know when you might need to make a sudden stop.
• Drive with your lights on so you are more visible to on-coming traffic.
• Watch for motorcyclists as they are more prevalent in warm weather.
Tips to Prevent Drowsy Driving
• Never drink alcohol or take sedating medications before driving.
• Get adequate sleep.
• Schedule breaks about every 100 miles or every two hours. Get out and stretch your legs, but never leave a child or pet unattended in your vehicle.
• For long trips, travel with a companion who can help you stay alert and share the driving.
Tips to Prevent Driving Aggressively
• Plan ahead and allow enough time for delays.
• Drive the speed limit.
• Never tailgate or flash your lights at another driver.
• If you do encounter an angry driver, do not engage. Give angry drivers plenty of room, avoid eye contact, and if you’re concerned for your safety, call 911.
For people who plan to stay in town this coming holiday weekend, it’s important to follow all safety laws and just use common sense. As always, the police will be watching the roads in an effort to save lives of Texarkana residents.
“The Texarkana, Texas, Police Department asks that you don’t drink and drive, and we are asking drivers to plan ahead for events where drinking is involved. It is the responsible thing to do. However, for those who choose to drink and drive, police officers will be on the roads to crack down on drunk driving,” Sgt. Brower said.
“The Texarkana, Texas, Police Department hopes that increased visibility this year during the Fourth of July weekend can make a difference in saving lives on the road,” he added.
“If you drink don’t drive.”