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Make sure your new year begins safely!

Make sure your new year begins safely!

It’s time to welcome 2015! Many Missourians plan special gatherings to bring in the New Year. The Missouri State Highway Patrol encourages everyone to make good decisions regarding their New Year’s celebration. A traffic crash would be an unfortunate way to begin 2015.

This year’s 102-hour counting period will be from 6 p.m. on December 31, 2014, to 11:59 p.m. on January 4, 2015. Last year over the New Year’s 30-hour holiday counting period, there were 380 traffic crashes, which injured 147 people. There were no fatalities during the 2014 New Year’s holiday counting period.

If you’re driving to a New Year’s gathering, remember to buckle up and obey all traffic laws. As you make your way to the party, be a courteous driver. When in doubt, yield the right-of-way. Pay attention and use your turn signal to communicate your intentions to other drivers. The posted speed limit is chosen for a reason. There’s no reason to speed—the party starts after you arrive safely.

If the weather is bad, allow extra time for traveling or be flexible with your plans. Check the weather forecast and plan accordingly. The Road Condition Report number is 1-888-275-6636. Depending on the weather, staying home might be the best option. Take the time to clean snow and ice completely from your vehicle. Make sure the windows are completely cleared to ensure visibility. Remember: Missouri law states if you’re using your windshield wipers, your headlights must be turned on. It takes only a second to turn on your vehicle’s headlights. That second could make you more visible to other drivers and prevent a traffic crash.

If your plans include alcohol, remember that nothing ruins a party like a DWI arrest or a drinking-related traffic crash on your way home. Designate a sober driver before the party starts. The roadway is no place for a driver who has been drinking. If you cause a traffic crash, your New Year might begin with being arrested, facing legal fees and medical bills, and perhaps jail time. You face the possibility of losing your license and will have to face your family and friends. If you kill or injure someone, you’ll pay the price for the rest of your life. No one wants to begin 2015 in jail. Be smart. Designate a sober driver or take a taxi.

“The members and employees of the Missouri State Highway Patrol wish each of you a happy and safe beginning to 2015,” said Colonel Ron Replogle, superintendent of the Patrol.

Of course, no matter how safely you drive, you can’t control other drivers. Therefore, the Patrol encourages motorists to protect themselves from all types of hazardous drivers by making sure everyone in the vehicle is properly restrained in a seat belt or child restraint. Click It 4 Life!

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