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Thursday, May 27, 2010

PennDOT Reminds Motorists to Think Safety When Traveling for Holiday

PennDOT Reminds Motorists to Think Safety When Traveling for Holiday

Harrisburg – With the number of travelers expected to increase for the Memorial Day holiday, PennDOT is urging motorists to plan ahead and practice safe driving habits.

“We ask all drivers to buckle up, avoid distractions and obey the speed limit, so that everyone can reach their destinations safely,” said PennDOT Secretary Allen D. Biehler, P.E. “Also, if you are going to be celebrating at a party this weekend, please make sure to designate a sober driver.”

Throughout the weekend, PennDOT will partner with Pennsylvania State Police and municipal police departments for this year’s Click It or Ticket seat belt enforcement effort. Under it, any unbuckled motorist stopped and cited for a traffic violation will receive a second ticket and fine for not wearing a seat belt.

Also, police will conduct patrols and other enforcement activities aimed at stopping aggressive and impaired drivers.

“Troopers will be watching for aggressive driving behaviors, such as speeding and tailgating,” said State Police Commissioner Frank E. Pawlowski. “Don’t react in anger to aggressive behavior by other motorists. Stay calm and stay safe.”

According to PennDOT, last year’s Memorial Day holiday period was the deadliest of any holiday in 2009. There were more than 2,900 crashes, resulting in 47 fatalities. Of those, 436 crashes and 24 fatalities were alcohol-related. The holiday period includes Memorial Day and the weekends before and after the holiday.

PennDOT also offers the following tips for safe travel at any time of year:
• Take frequent breaks or rotate drivers during long trips.
• Avoid all distractions, including talking on a cell phone or texting.
• Carry a cell phone and charger in case of emergency.
• Carry extra water and non-perishable food.
• Remember, state law requires headlights to be turned on any time your wipers are in use due to rain or fog.

Biehler added that now is also one of the best times to make sure that vehicles are prepared for the rigors of summer driving. To help make the most of out of you travels this summer, motorist should have their vehicles serviced by a mechanic they trust. A properly trained mechanic will inspect the battery, belt, hoses, air conditioning system and tires and help catch potential problems before they can cause a breakdown.

There are also a few things drivers can do on their own to help ensure fewer vehicle-related problems this summer, such as:

• Regularly check tire air pressure and tread wear.
• Check the condition of wiper blades and if they are frayed or streaking, they need to be replaced.
• Be sure the windshield washer reservoir is filled with a summer fluid that helps remove bugs and road grime.
• Be certain that all lights are working.
• Check the pavement under the vehicle after it has been sitting and report any suspicious fluid leaks to your mechanic.

In addition to driving safely, PennDOT is also advising motorists to plan ahead to avoid travel delays. While PennDOT removes most lane restrictions on interstates and other high-volume expressways for the holiday weekend, restrictions cannot be lifted on some larger projects.

For the most current traffic information on interstates and other major highways, motorists can also visit or call 511 before they leave home.

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