Officials: Prepare for winter driving

djournal-In-the-NewsDaily Journal

If you’re traveling by car for the holidays, state and national transportation experts urge preparation and caution to make sure the trip is a safe one.

The American Automobile Association (AAA) estimates 94.5 million Americans will travel at least 50 miles this holiday season – up slightly from last year’s holiday – marking the fifth consecutive year travel has increased during the Christmas holiday.

“While economic growth has stagnated and consumer confidence has fallen, Americans will not be Scrooges when it comes to traveling this year,” AAA Chief Operating Officer Marshall L. Doney said in a news release. “AAA is projecting more Americans to travel than ever before to gather with friends and family, exchange presents and ring in the New Year.”

Mississippi Department of Transportation (MDOT) officials urge travelers to check road and weather conditions before leaving. Travelers should prepare by stocking their vehicles with emergency supplies, such as flashlights, jumper cables and emergency markers. Raingear, warm clothing and

“We focus a lot on reminding people to drive sober, buckle up and limit distractions behind the wheel,” said Melinda McGrath, MDOT executive director. “All of those things are incredibly important but making sure you’re riding in a safe vehicle is step number one.”

If you’re traveling for the holidays, be prepared for any situation. Use cargo nets to secure any packages you bring along. If you are involved in a crash, a loose package can quickly become a dangerous projectile in your vehicle, McGrath said. Anyone traveling this holiday season should be prepared for any number of conditions, from icy conditions to drowsy driving, she added.

One of the best pieces of news for travelers is that all construction work on Mississippi highways will be suspended on Dec. 25.