Troopers preach safety as holiday traffic begins

Traffic jam
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News 12 at 6 o'clock / Tuesday, Nov. 20, 2012

AIKEN, S.C. -- Holiday travel is here, and with lower prices at the pump, the roads could see thicker and thicker traffic.

"We're expecting a lot of travelers on our roadways. Also, it's going to be a big shopping weekend, so you know, a lot of people are going to be out-and-about," said Lance Cpl. Judd Jones with the South Carolina Highway Patrol.

Jones is preaching safety and preparedness as families hit the road to go out of town or just to the local mall.

"Last year, during the Thanksgiving holidays, there was 11 fatalities on our roadways. Our goal this year is zero fatalities on our roadways," Jones said.

This year, the state is already at 727 fatalities. That's a smaller number than last year this time, but he says many of those could have been prevented.

"You know, we're not saying that everybody would survive, but a lot of people would still be here today if they took the time to put their seat belts on," Jones said.

Speeding is also a problem, and the Highway Patrol will have its radar guns drawn. Jones says all troopers will be working this weekend.

"Not only with our regular enforcement, but we're going to be throughout the state at certain rest areas, and we're going to have safety breaks there. You can come in, and we're going to have literature. You'll be able to talk to State Transport Police about commercial vehicle things," he said.

Jones says education is just as important as enforcement. Along with the South Carolina State Transport Police, they're warning drivers to avoid the blind spots of 18-wheelers, put the cellphones down, service cars before going out of town and keep your cool as thousands of cars hit the road.

"Have a little patience. Know it's going to be congested out there. Exercise a little patience while you're driving," Jones said.

By the way, one more tip is a number you can call. If you see a drunk driver, aggressive driver or speeder -- or if you break down or need help -- call *HP. It'll connect you straight to South Carolina Highway Patrol's dispatch. If you live in Georgia, that number is *GSP.

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