The Long Beach Police Department (LBPD) has released several tips for safe driving to use this holiday season. The LBPD encourages everyone to follow all traffic laws, always pay attention whether you’re behind the wheel, a bicyclist or a pedestrian, and avoid at all costs driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
Several DUI checkpoints and saturation patrols will be planned throughout the holidays, while vehicles that have been involved in DUI crashes will be displayed throughout the city to remind motorists of the consequences of driving impaired, according to the release. The California Office of Traffic Safety (OTS) is also warning drivers to be prepared for severe weather at all times, due to anticipated increased travel during the predicted wet winter.
The OTS has released the following recommendations for safe travel:
- Make sure your brakes, windshield wipers, defroster, anti-freeze, heater and lights are in top condition. Make sure your tires, including the spare, are properly inflated and the treads are in good condition.
- Visit www.storms.ca.gov ahead of any expected heavy storm during this El Niño season. Get the latest weather report and check quickmap.dot.ca.gov for current road conditions.
- Buckle seat belts, everybody, every trip. Wearing a seat belt is the best defense to prevent injury and death in a crash. Ensure children are buckled into properly installed child safety or booster seats.
- Remain alert. Constantly scan the road for brake lights in front of you. Part of being alert is to minimize distractions, like turning off or silencing your cell phone.
- If it’s raining hard, keep your vehicle in the middle lane since water tends to pool in outside lanes.
- Turn on your headlights in rainy, foggy or overcast conditions. Use low beams in fog or snow.
- Do not use cruise control during wet or snowy road conditions. Cruise control can cause skidding and loss of tire traction in winter conditions.
- In rain or snow, first slow down, then increase the following distance between you and the car in front. Stopping distances can double in rain, triple in snow.
- Never drive through running water that could be deeper than the bottom of your vehicle.
- In the event you find yourself hydroplaning or skidding, remember not to brake or turn suddenly, to take your foot off the gas until you slow enough to feel traction on the road again, to turn your steering wheel in the direction of the skid as you recover control (gently straighten the wheels) and to if you need to brake, to do so with a light pumping action. If your vehicle has anti-lock brakes, then brake normally, because the vehicle’s computer will mimic a pumping action.
- Carry an emergency kit. Build your own with tips found here.
- Finally, don’t drive under the influence of alcohol or drugs whether they be illicit or prescription. If you are under the influence of drugs or alcohol, always designate a sober driver.
For more winter driving tips, click here.