Police Beat

The Christmas/New Year's holiday season is the second most traveled time period of the year, second only to Thanksgiving week. Whether your Christmas travels will include travel from one end of the island to the other or to the other side of the country, a few tips for the open road may help you avoid a situation that could make your holidays a little less than joyful.

1. Utilize a designated driver if you have consumed alcohol. Studies have shown that drinking even a little bit of alcohol affects your judgment, alertness, and motor functions. Plan ahead so you do not have to make the decision whether or not to drive home at a time when your judgment may be impaired after consuming alcohol.

2. Wear your seatbelt. A 2010 study by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration discovered that over 12,000 lives were saved the previous year simply by utilizing a safety belt. Seatbelt use could save your life or the life of a loved one should an event occur.

3. Obey posted speed limits. Traffic safety experts have concluded that traveling at lower speeds increases the driver's capacity to respond to emergencies on the road and decreases the likelihood of injuries and death should the vehicle strike a pedestrian. In addition, lower speeds do not have much of an affect on the amount of time on the road--for instance, driving for three hours at 65 mph verses 60 mph will only net a 15 mile gain in that three hour time frame.

4. Have an exit strategy on the road. Traveling long distances with young children? Do not worry about making good time. Young children have needs that will affect the time it takes to travel long distances. Take the time to make extra stops in a safe manner and tend to their needs.

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year from the Anacortes Police Department!