Traffic

Here are gifts for Mississippi drivers heading home for the holidays

Road construction workers take up one lane of westbound I-10 east of Exit 57 on Sunday May 15, 2016. Work is nearly done on that stretch through Jackson County, but drivers MDOT will suspend construction work on roads throughout the state during the busiest travel times during Christmas and New Year’s.
Road construction workers take up one lane of westbound I-10 east of Exit 57 on Sunday May 15, 2016. Work is nearly done on that stretch through Jackson County, but drivers MDOT will suspend construction work on roads throughout the state during the busiest travel times during Christmas and New Year’s. jcfitzhugh@sunherald.com file

Mississippi Department of Transportation and Mississippi Highway Patrol are working to make the roads safer for those traveling through the state this weekend and next.

MDOT announced it has suspended work on all interstate and four-lane highways in anticipation of increased holiday travel. It also will prohibit oversize and overweight vehicles on all state and federal highways in the state during the busiest travel dates of the Christmas and New Year holidays.

The suspension of work and the ban on oversize vehicles is from Dec. 24-26, and again Dec. 31-Jan. 2.

Mississippi Highway Patrol’s campaign “Making It Home for the Holidays” runs through the end of the year. The Christmas Travel Enforcement Period begins AT 6 p.m. Friday and ends at midnight on Christmas.

Troopers will be working to combat reckless driving along with speeding and distracted driving issues. Safety checkpoints will be set up to enforce child restraint and seatbelt laws while also removing drivers impaired by alcohol or drugs so motorists make it home for the holidays.

“Our top priority is to provide the maximum safety for all motorists traveling Mississippi highways during the upcoming holidays,” said MODT Executive Director Melinda McGrath.

She cautioned that drivers should be aware that there will be some land closures in construction areas during the holidays and drivers should treat those areas as active work zones.

Traffic alerts are sent by email or text to subscribers who sign up on MDOTTraffic.com. For current travel information, dial 511 or download the MDOT Traffic mobile app.

Don’t wreck the holidays

Drunk driving effects thousands of people across the U.S. every year. Every day almost 29 people die in an alcohol-impaired vehicle crash. In 2016, one person was killed in an alcohol-related crash every 50 minutes.

Alcohol impairs thinking, reasoning, and muscle coordination, which restricts a person from operating a vehicle correctly. Even though someone isn’t feeling or acting drunk, does not automatically mean this person is okay to drive. Just one drink can have significant consequences if someone decides to get behind the wheel.

While celebrating this year, MDOT offers these tips to ensure Mississippi’s roads remain safe for all motorists this holiday season.

  • If you drink alcohol, do not get behind the wheel for any reason. Make sure you have a designated driver in mind or a taxi to take you home.
  • Hand your keys over to a trusted friend or family member at the beginning of the night before the first drink. This removes any temptations of thinking you are okay enough to drive.
  • Hold your friends and family accountable; if someone is drinking, do not let them get behind the wheel. Take their keys and make sure they have a sober ride home.
  • Impaired drivers are not only a danger to themselves, but also to other innocent drivers on the road. If you suspect someone is driving drunk, call the police when it is safe to do so.
  • Be aware of other drivers: don’t assume that everyone else is driving as safely as you are.

MDOT

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