’Tis the season to slow down and stay focused

Holiday traffic on the Kansas Turnpike is nothing new to Capt. Joe Bott, commander of Kansas Highway Patrol Troop G, and the other 50 troopers assigned to the Kansas Turnpike. Bott encourages travelers to drive safely, especially during the holidays, by offering three simple tips.

“With the holiday season in full swing, I’m reminded of how busy everyone gets this time of year,” Bott said. “Troop G of the Kansas Highway Patrol is no exception. I’d like to say we’re busier due to the increased number of travelers, but that’s not entirely true.

“People have so much more on their minds – shopping, family events and parties. Often times when they get behind the wheel, their mind is not on driving. Thus, more traffic violations occur, accidents happen and lives are altered. Unfortunately, many of these situations could have been prevented.”

Bott offers these tips for holiday travel:

Holiday tip No. 1: Drive the speed limit and allow adequate time to reach your destination.

Excessive speed is often a contributing factor. Many people think going faster will get them to their destination quicker. While technically true, the amount of time gained by speeding is minimal. Consider this, you must drive 100 miles at 85 mph (10 miles faster than the Turnpike’s speed limit) to gain just 10 minutes. Plus, the longer you speed the greater the likelihood you’ll be stopped by a Trooper. Then you’ll lose the time you wanted to gain and you’ll be out several hundred dollars in fines/court costs. In the long run, speeding just isn’t worth it.

Holiday tip No. 2: Stay focus on driving; don’t allow yourself to be distracted.

Another consideration involving speed is how quickly things happen. The speed limit on the Kansas Turnpike is 75 mph. At this rate you will cover the length of a football field in just under three seconds. That doesn’t leave much time to react to a dangerous situation ahead of you, especially if part of those three seconds are used to glance at your cell phone or you’re distracted for some other reason. Driving is not the time to multitask.

Holiday tip No. 3: Don’t drive or let others drive while impaired; report possible impaired driving.

Besides excessive speed and distraction, holiday celebrations play a big role in traffic incidents. The obvious problem is driving under the influence of drugs and/or alcohol. Don’t do it. If you are impaired, keep yourself and others – both in your car and on the roadway – safe by not driving.

Likewise, it is everyone’s responsibility to not let impaired people drive and to be watchful for careless, erratic driving as you go about your holiday travel. If you feel someone may be impaired, be on the safe side and report it. On the Kansas Turnpike it’s as simple as calling *KTA. Your call could prevent an accident and possibly save lives.

By following these three tips, and buckling up, chances are good your holidays will be safe and uneventful. You and your loved ones will spend time together as you intended, laughing and having fun.


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