MONTGOMERY –Alabama may not have a white Christmas, but its bridges and roadways could become icy later this holiday week, with forecasts calling for freezing precipitation, particularly Thursday, Dec. 24, and into Friday, Dec. 25.
The Alabama Law Enforcement Agency (ALEA) urges motorists planning to travel this week to be prepared for hazardous road conditions, in addition to the typical heavier-than-normal holiday traffic.
ALEA Secretary Hal Taylor said, “The days leading up to Christmas through New Year’s Day are truly a joyful and festive time, even during mild weather conditions. This week, however, forecasters are calling for freezing precipitation across the state. We urge Alabama’s motoring public to monitor the weather, drive with extreme caution and assist our Troopers and our law enforcement partners by promoting safety on Alabama roadways and to prevent traffic crashes, injuries and fatalities.”
The extended holiday travel period will be from 12:01 a.m. Thursday, Dec. 24, to midnight Friday, Jan. 1, 2021. During this time, ALEA’s Troopers will conduct a variety of enforcement activities, including driver license and equipment check points, to curb such deadly behaviors as driving under the influence, driving while distracted, not buckling up, speeding and following too closely. In addition, the agency is participating in the national Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over campaign, designed to curb alcohol and drug-impaired driving.
“With thousands upon thousands traveling this time of year, even during the pandemic, safety is key, especially when you add wintry weather to the mix,” Secretary Taylor said.
If at all possible, motorists should avoid driving during inclement weather, but ALEA offers the following traffic safety tips for those who must travel:
- Monitor local news for information on weather conditions and travel advisories, and check road conditions at https://algotraffic.com/.
- Report traffic crashes or other emergencies by calling 911 or using a cell phone to dial *HP (*47) to reach the nearest Highway Patrol post.
- Remain alert for emergency vehicles and remember to obey Alabama’s “move over” law.
- Keep vehicles in good operating condition. Check antifreeze levels, use windshield washer solution suitable for freezing weather conditions and keep gas tanks at least half full.
- Remember weather and roadway conditions can deteriorate quickly. Adapt speeds to existing roadway conditions and be alert to changing weather and the possibility of icy and slippery roads.
- During inclement weather, turn on headlights and windshield wipers, and maintain a safe distance between your vehicle and other vehicles.
- Pay attention to bridges and overpasses, which have a tendency to develop hazardous “black ice.”
- Keep a blanket, first aid kit, charged cell phone and other emergency supplies in your vehicle.