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Holiday safety efforts under way
Rain moving out overnight
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Forsyth County News
Driving tips

The Forsyth County Sheriff’s Office recommends the following safe driving tips for the holidays:

• Plan trips early. Don’t leave home without knowing the route and planning stops along the way.

• Tell family and friends the route and expected time of arrival.

• Make sure your vehicle is in excellent condition and have it serviced. Check tires for wear and correct air pressure. Make sure all lights are working.

• Buckle up.

• Choose the best time to travel and try to avoid crowded roads. Holiday traffic is usually lighter in the morning.

• Drive alert and sober. Get a good night’s rest before leaving and don’t drink the night before.

• Keep an emergency kit in your vehicle which includes a flashlight, tire gauge, flares, help sign and first aid kit.

• Don’t rush. It’s better to arrive late than not at all. Notify those who are expecting you that you won’t be on time.

• Pull off the road to use a cell phone. Do not text while driving.
Authorities have a few tips for those planning to travel over the holidays.

And according to AAA Auto Club South, that’s a whole lot of folks. The group estimates 87.7 million Americans were expected to drive or fly between Wednesday and Jan. 3.

Travelers may also want to keep an eye on the weather before departing.

According to the National Weather Service, there is 50 percent chance of rain today with a 100 percent chance of heavy rain tonight.

The chance of precipitation is expected to drop to 20 percent Christmas Day, with partly cloudy skies that night.

Projections show drier weather Saturday through Tuesday with mostly sunny skies during the day and high temperatures in the mid-40s.

The Forsyth County Sheriff’s Office has recommended a variety of safety measures that begin before heading out on a trip.

Those suggestions include stopping newspaper deliveries and having a friend or neighbor pick up mail.

Authorities also advise storing valuables in a safe deposit box and telling someone when you will leave and return.

Capt. Frank Huggins said the sheriff’s office has launched its 2009 Christmas traffic enforcement efforts to limit the number of wrecks.

The department will also be watching for impaired driving and other traffic violations.

“Our crime prevention efforts will include patrols through shopping centers,” he said, adding that deputies will be on bicycles and in unmarked cars.

“Our objective is to prevent criminal activity and apprehend those who choose to engage in it. And we will.”

The sheriff’s office has also joined state authorities in Operation Zero Tolerance.

The initiative is part of an effort to prevent crashes as a result of impaired driving.

According to the Georgia Office of Highway Safety, 25 people died during the 2008 holiday period on Georgia roads and one in three fatal crashes each year is caused by impaired drivers.

The statement goes on to show that there were 7,814 alcohol-related crashes in 2008.

A statement from AAA shows that while nationwide the agency is reporting a 3.8 percent overall increase in travel, the Southeast and other regions are expected to see a decline.

Specifically, projections suggest Georgia and Florida will have a 4.7 percent drop in holiday travel over last year and Tennessee will see a 3 percent increase.

The statement also said 88 percent of those traveling will go by car.