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DPS Urges Motorists to Drive Safely this Christmas and New Year’s Holidays

Georgia Department of Public Safety

 

 

As the Christmas and New Year’s holidays rapidly approach, Georgia State Patrol (GSP) Troopers and Motor Carrier Compliance (MCCD) Officers across the state are preparing for the back-to-back holiday weekends and will conduct high visibility patrols on the heaviest travel days to remind motorists to drive safely.

This year’s Christmas holiday travel period begins Friday, December 22, at 6 p.m., and ends Tuesday, December 26, at 11:59 p.m. The New Year’s holiday travel period gets underway Friday, December 29, at 6:00 p.m., and ends at 11:59 p.m., on Monday, January 2, 2023. Both are 78 hours long.

“The Georgia Department of Public Safety would like to wish everyone a safe and happy holiday season.  We want to encourage all motorists to make safety their top priority when traveling on Georgia’s roadways. Drivers need to conduct a pre-trip inspection of your vehicle, obey the speed limit, wear your seatbelt, and ensure that all children are properly restrained,” said Colonel Billy Hitchens, Commissioner of the Department of Public Safety (DPS).  “Do not drive impaired or distracted and please be patient as you travel,” added Colonel Hitchens.

AAA estimates over 115 million people will journey 50 miles or more away from home from December 23 to January 1, a 1.8% increase compared to 2022.  In addition to increased traffic, the end-of-the-year is also the time when Troopers and Officers see an increase in the number of impaired drivers on Georgia’s roads.

“The Georgia Department of Public Safety will have an increased focus on patrolling the interstates and highways this holiday season to encourage safe driving behaviors and to reduce crashes.  We are expecting to see a significant increase in traffic and congestion on Georgia roadways.  We ask everyone to please plan ahead, buckle up, and drive responsibly. This time of year, there is an increase in social gatherings with our friends, loved ones, and work families where there is a greater likelihood of alcohol being consumed,” said Colonel Hitchens.  “Always have a plan to have a sober driver to help make our roads safer for everyone. With multiple rideshare options available, there is no excuse for someone to drink and drive.  If you are caught driving impaired, you will be arrested,” added Colonel Hitchens.

Best and Worst Travel Times to Travel by Car

Christmas Holiday

Date                      Worst Travel Time           Best Travel Time

12/23/2023       11:00 AM – 7:00 PM               Before 10:00 AM

12/24/2023       Minimal Traffic Impact Expected

12/15/2023       Minimal Traffic Impact Expected

12/26/2023        1:00 PM – 5:00 PM               Before 12:00 PM

12/27/2023       1:00 PM – 7:00 PM                Before 12:00 PM

12/28/2023        :00 PM – 8:00 PM                 Before 12:00 PM

12/29/2023       2:00 PM – 8:00 PM                Before 12:00 PM

 

New Year’s Holiday

Date                      Worst Travel Time           Best Travel Time

12/30/2023       5:00 PM – 7:00 PM                Before 12:00 PM

12/31/2021       5:00 PM – 7:00 PM                Before 12:00 PM

01/01/2024       Minimal Traffic Impact Expected

01/02/2024       11:00 am – 7:00 pm               Before 10:00 AM

Source: AAA

 

DPS wants everyone to arrive safely to their destinations. Please review this checklist we have provided in preparation for your trip on the road.

  • Before You Go: Make sure all fluids (gas, coolant, oil, windshield wipers, etc.) are to their required levels; check your tire pressure including the spare tire; and check your battery, brakes, belts, hoses, filters, and lights before getting on the road.

 

  • Prepare a Car Emergency Kit: Make sure you know where you are going; check the weather and road conditions; make sure you have important numbers for emergency services programmed in your phone; make sure you have your phone charging cables, jumper cables, flashlights, snow chains, ice scraper, shovel, and tool kits; purchase or make sure your first aid kit is filled; include blankets, pillows, water and snacks for long trips and possible delays; and make sure you have your masks and hand sanitizer.

 

  • While on the Road: Know the laws of the road in the states where you travel by visiting their state websites/apps; pay attention to posted speed limits; make sure everyone is properly restrained in the vehicle including booster seats for those children under 8; consider filling up your tank when it gets to half full; keep more than a car length apart between you and the vehicle in front of you (two lengths apart in inclement weather); and don’t drive impaired which includes taking medication.

 

  • Stay Safe and Alert: Be aware of aggressive drivers and/or impaired drivers and report them to 911 or *GSP while on Georgia’s roads; make sure you have plenty of gas between exits; take breaks and stretch at well-lit rest stops to avoid falling asleep at the wheel; share driving responsibilities to avoid fatigue; don’t leave valuables, including gifts visible in your vehicle; and remove any distractions that will take your attention off the road.

 

During the holiday period, an updated traffic fatality count will be published on the Department of Public Safety’s Twitter page: http://www.twitter.com/ga_dps.

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