Oklahoma roadways are expected to be busy during the Thanksgiving holiday period, and the Oklahoma Highway Safety Office is urging motorists to take extra precautions to keep drivers and passengers safe.

“While you’re making those important holiday plans, take a little time to make smart choices about your travel, too,” said OHP Lt. Garrett Vowell, Impaired Driving Enforcement Coordinator.

Vowell said anyone who attends a gathering where alcohol is served should plan ahead to designate a non-drinking driver.  “If you’ve been drinking, don’t get behind the wheel, period,” he said.

He also urges drivers to be aware of the side effects of both prescription and over-the-counter medications.

“Many people don’t realize that medicines can cause impairments too,” he said. “Always talk to your doctor or pharmacist about potential side effects, and don’t drive if you’re taking a medication that can cause sleepiness, dizziness, or impaired reaction time.”

The OHSO also recommends other steps for safe Thanksgiving travel:

  • Make sure all children in your vehicle are placed in age-appropriate car seats and all adults are buckled up.
  • Don’t allow distractions. Put away the cell phone and electronic equipment while driving.
  • Don’t drive drowsy. Get plenty of sleep before driving, and schedule frequent stops along the way.
  • Plan ahead for inclement weather, and make sure your vehicle contains appropriate emergency equipment.

“If you see an impaired driver on the road, contact local law enforcement or dial *55 from any cell phone to alert the Oklahoma Highway Patrol,” Vowell said. “Our goal is to keep Oklahomans safe on the roads this holiday season.”

During the 2012 Thanksgiving holiday period, 12 people died and 391 were injured in Oklahoma traffic crashes.  Four fatalities and 44 injuries resulted from alcohol-related crashes.

To refer to the OHSO Thanksgiving holiday fact sheet, visit www.ohso.ok.gov.

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