SAN ANGELO, Texas – The rush home for the holidays is in full force this weekend causing traffic to be heavier than normal with more than 100 million people taking to the roads, that’s a third of the population.
“We know that people are going to be out and about for the next couple of weeks for parties and visiting loved ones around the state and maybe beyond and we just want to encourage everyone to have a great time but also do that responsibly,” said Karen Threlkeld, PIO for San Angelo TxDOT.
Distracted driving is the cause of many deaths on Texas highways, but a cause that coincides with the holidays the most is drinking.
“Certainly, drunk driving is 100% preventable and there’s no reason that if you are not able to drive that you get on the road,” said Threlkeld.
“To put the pun on it ya know, if you’re going to drink let somebody else guide your sleigh tonight. Go out there and be extra safe and don’t take that risk,” said SGT Justin Baker with the Texas Department of Public Safety.
For Sergeant Baker and the Department of Public Safety, Operation Holidays begins today. They are suggesting that people give themselves enough time to get on the road.
“What we see also a lot during the holidays is people might be working to the very last minute and then say, ‘hey I’m going to get on the road.’ It might be a long drive, it might be a short drive, but either way we don’t want to take a risk, an unnecessary risk, of hurting ourselves or others. So get that extra rest, take a little bit more time, to make sure you’ve got everything situated for yourself and your vehicle,” said Baker. “It’s the same thing when people are coming back home, nobody wants to leave their loved ones so they are going to stay till the very last minute and then again might be taking unnecessary risks, so we want to make sure we don’t do that.”
Traveling safe is of the upmost importance especially since Texas has had an endless streak of death for the last 21 years and officials say there are over 300 more people who have died this year compared to last.