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Traffic on rise across Forsyth County as Christmas nears

FORSYTH COUNTY — Authorities are asking motorists and travelers to help ensure the holidays remain jolly over the long Christmas weekend.

Though Christmas Day itself tends to be a slow on roads in Forsyth County and throughout the state, Epifanio Rodriguez, a spokesman for the Forsyth County Sheriff’s Office, said the days leading up to Dec. 25 often see an increase in traffic.

“Follow all the general safe driving practices,” Rodriguez said. “Don’t speed. Don’t drink and drive. Don’t drive distracted.”

Deputies will be watching for aggressive, fast and impaired driving, he said.

To help clear a safe path for travelers, the Georgia Department of Transportation is lifting lane closures over the extended Christmas and New Year’s travel period.

All scheduled and ongoing construction-related lane closures will be suspended from 5 a.m. today until 10 p.m. Sunday.

The DOT will also suspend closures for New Year’s from 5 a.m. Dec. 31 through 5 a.m. Jan. 2.

“We know that a lot of people will be hitting the road for the year-end holiday season, and we want to make it a little easier for them to … arrive safely at their destinations,” said DOT Commissioner Russell McMurry in a statement.

“I urge all motorists to do their part to keep one another safe by obeying all traffic laws and being courteous to their fellow travelers.”

Since the week leading up to Christmas — and even the few days after — is the height of shopping season, with last-minute gift-buying and day-after exchanging, Rodriguez said shoppers should use caution.

“Continue to lock your doors before going into the store,” he said. “Know your surroundings. There’s still package theft, so have your packages delivered to your house only if you’ll be there. Or have them delivered to a friend or to your workplace.”