“Historically, injury and fatal crashes increase over the days surrounding the Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays,” states Sgt. Jimmy Chavez, President of the Arizona Highway Patrol Association. “Increased traffic means drivers need to increase their awareness behind the wheel. We want to make sure everyone makes it to their destination safely.” Additionally, four Arizona officers were killed this year in auto-related incidents.
- Blinding dust storms can pop up even in the Arizona winter months. Drivers need to be aware of the possibility of dust storms and know what to do if caught up in one. “Drivers should reduce their speed, pull over off the highway as far as possible and wait for the storm to pass,” says Chavez. It is critically important to turn off your lights, including making sure your foot is off the brake so brake lights are not illuminated which can attract other motorists. Other drivers on the road tend to verge to lights in limited visibility.”
- Plan enough time for your drive and observe posted speed limits.
- Check your vehicle ahead of time. This includes fluid levels, belts, hoses, and tire pressure/condition.
- Be prepared for the unexpected. You can encounter delays due to accidents, road closures, inclement weather or drivers who appear to be lost.
- Be rested before traveling and take breaks during long drives.
- Carry an emergency kit that includes items such as a cell phone, a flashlight with extra batteries, flares, jumper cables, basic repair tools and drinking water.
- Watch out for other drivers. People can become frustrated, and even aggressive when driving in traffic for during long periods.
- AHPA encourages anyone on the road to call 9-1-1 if you view suspicious or aggressive drivers, breakdowns and accidents. Again, make sure calls can be made safely using a hands-free device and without taking the driver’s focus from the potential hazard. If possible have a passenger make the call.
- Use a designated driver or call a taxi if consuming alcoholic beverages or taking impairing medications, including prescribed medication.
Important Driving Laws:
- DPS is cracking down on drivers who are texting or driving distracted. AHPA recommends eliminating driver distractions. Limit cell phone use to emergencies only. If a call must be made, use a hands-free device, or if possible, have a passenger make the call. Under no circumstances should a driver text or email while driving.
- Remember the “Move Over Law”. Move over one lane or slow down for vehicles on the side of the road. Help keep our DPS officers, other public safety officers, and other motorists safe.
- Buckle Up! It’s the Law! AHPA wants everyone to be safe, by having all passengers use seat belts, including children. Child safety restraints can be installed with assistance from DPS, your local police or fire department. Seat belts and child safety restraints have been proven to be effective in reducing and/or preventing injuries in vehicle crashes.
- Don’t drive under the influence of alcoholic beverages or drugs.