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Special to the News
The Alabama Law Enforcement Agency (ALEA) may be wrapping up its 101 Days of Safety this Labor Day weekend; however, the agency is turning its attention to another celebrated season in the South: Football!
ALEA Secretary Hal Taylor said, “Although Labor Day signals the unofficial end to summer, and everyone is easing back into a regular routine, the South has kicked off football season into high gear with high school games every Thursday and Friday night, and university/college games each Saturday. Even if you aren’t a football fan, heavier-than-usual game day traffic is likely to affect you.”
He went on to say the agency’s 101 Days of Summer Safety was an extremely successful campaign that promoted public safety with ALEA Troopers focusing on Alabama’s roadways, waterways – and even airways along beaches at the gulf – beginning Memorial Day weekend and continuing through midnight Labor Day, September 5.
During the safety initiative, ALEA utilized an assortment of platforms and partnerships with local first responders to implement enforcement details and convey a variety of safety messages, as well as share important tips to keep everyone safe while they enjoyed their summer festivities.
Now, however, it is time to focus on keeping everyone safe as we begin to enjoy football along with all the fall festivities.
Secretary Taylor said, “When you first arrive in our state, a common question is, ‘Are you an Alabama or Auburn fan?’ This is just one of the many intense rivalries that occur across our state each year. We recognize and understand the anticipation, as well as excitement, for fans to watch and enjoy their favorite game. It doesn’t matter where you enjoy the exhilaration of the gridiron – as long as you develop a game plan prior to leaving home and celebrate responsibly. If you plan to consume alcoholic beverages away from home, please take a few minutes to select a designated driver or reserve a ride-share service. This simple technique can be a winning strategy to ensure everyone’s safety while traveling on Alabama’s roadways.”
In addition, motorists should expect traffic congestion, especially on game day, and drivers should be defensive and patient when it is time to leave the stadium and head home. These and other safety tips are key throughout the year, but particularly during such popular traveling periods as Labor Day and game day.
“Let’s all do our part to make this a safe Labor Day weekend – and a winning football season for everyone,” Taylor said.
Some of ALEA’s top Labor Day weekend safety tips for highway safety are:
- Remain attentive around large vehicles and semi-trucks. Large vehicles such as semitrucks command a heavy presence on interstates. They have limited maneuverability, longer stopping distances and bigger blind spots.
- Expect traffic heavier than usual. Adjust travel plans to accommodate busier roadways and waterways and leave a bit earlier. Avoid speeding, following vehicles too closely and other dangerous behaviors on roadways.
- Prepare your vehicle. Get your vehicle’s tires, brakes, exterior lights, battery, air filters, wipers and fluid levels checked before you a leave for a trip. Keep an emergency kit available. (Inflated spire tire, first aid kit, jumper cables, phone charger, etc.)
- Avoid driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs. If you plan on consuming alcohol pre-plan for a designated driver, call Uber or a cab. Designate a sober driver in advance to get you home safely.
- Buckle up – no matter how short your trip. Ensure all the vehicle’s occupants are buckled up and children are utilizing a child restraint system. Car seats and boosters provide protection for infants and children in a crash, yet car crashed are a leading cause of death for children ages 1 to 13.
Don’t follow other vehicles too closely. “Following too close” is one of the leading contributing factors behind crashes. Maintaining situational awareness and operating under a defensive driving posture is critical in avoiding crashes especially during high traffic periods.