Turkey day safety tips

By Angela Peacock

By planning ahead, applying common sense and adhering to a few simple travelers tips, everyone can help to create safer driving conditions on all New Mexico roadways this Thanksgiving, according to state highway officials.

“We want everyone traveling New Mexico’s highways to have a safe and happy Thanksgiving holiday,” said New Mexico State Highway and Transportation Department’s (NMSHTD) Acting Secretary Charlie Trujillo.

Though city police don’t have any saturation patrols or DWI check points scheduled for the upcoming holiday. Deputy Chief Dennis Smart wants people, especially those traveling this Thanksgiving, to remember that just because they may not be drinking and driving doesn’t mean other motorists aren’t.

“If you’re traveling leave yourself plenty of time to get there.
Just be cautious and don’t take any chances,” Smart said.

Lt. Nathan Wallace said local state police will increase their presence beginning Wednesday, since it’s one of the busiest travel days of the year. Even with the increase of officers on patrol, Wallace still warns travelers about the dangers of driving on lack of sleep.

“The majority of the accidents are actually caused by fatigue and we will probably have some of that this week,” Wallace said. “People are going to try and drive long distances without rest, so we are probably going have somebody that is going to fall asleep.”

Thanksgiving Travelers Safety Tips:
• Keep a windshield scraper and gloves in your car
• Maintain at least a half tank of gas during the winter season
• Listen to the radio for the latest weather and road conditions or call NMSHTD’s Road Advisory phone line at 1-800-432-4269.
• Plan to travel during daylight and, if possible, have at least one person with you on the trip.
• Dress warmly, wearing layers of loose-fitting, layered, lightweight clothing
• Keep a blanket, booster cables, road flares, a flashlight, bottled water, high energy munchies, gloves, a stocking cap and boots, a windshield scraper, towrope and first aid kit in your vehicle at all times.
Some driving tips for winter:
• Reduce your speed during winter driving conditions.
• Avoid driving into a snow cloud.
• Stay well back from snowplows.
• Plan ahead and be patient. Try to drive during daylight hours and to drive with another person, if possible.
• Check before passing other vehicles.
• Keep your gas tank full and your vehicle in good repair and prepared for New
Mexico’s harsh winters with regular oil changes and antifreeze, battery and brake check-ups. Ensure your tires have good tread.
• Don’t use your cruise control as it can reduce vehicle control on wet or icy roads.
If stranded in a winter storm, follow these tips:
• Stay in your vehicle.
• Remain calm. The storm will end and you will be found. Your main concern should conserving body heat and energy. You will not starve to death. Do not attempt to push your car or shovel in extreme storm conditions. Injury from tools, a slipping vehicle, exhaustion or heart attack could be the result.
• Keep fresh air in your vehicle. Avoid possible carbon monoxide poisoning by turning off the ignition and cracking open a window.
• Stay warm by keeping your blood circulating. Loosen tight clothing, change your position frequently, move your arms and legs, massage fingers and toes, and elevate your feet to improve circulation.
Drivers should always plan ahead when traveling during winter weather. By following the tips listed above, drivers not only create safe driving conditions for themselves but for other motorists. For further road condition information, call the NMSHTD Road Conditions Hotline at
1-800-432-4269.
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“If you’re traveling leave yourself plenty of time to get there. Just be cautious and don’t take any chances,” Smart said.
Lt. Nathan Wallace said local state police will increase their presence beginning Wednesday, since it’s one of the busiest travel days of the year. Even with the increase of officers on patrol, Wallace still warns travelers about the dangers of driving on lack of sleep.
“The majority of the accidents are actually caused by fatigue and we will probably have some of that this week,” Wallace said. “People are going to try and drive long distances without rest, so we are probably going have somebody that is going to fall asleep.”

Thanksgiving Travelers Safety Tips:
• Keep a windshield scraper and gloves in your car
• Maintain at least a half tank of gas during the winter season
• Listen to the radio for the latest weather and road conditions or call NMSHTD’s Road Advisory phone line at 1-800-432-4269.
• Plan to travel during daylight and, if possible, have at least one person with you on the trip.
• Dress warmly, wearing layers of loose-fitting, layered, lightweight clothing
• Keep a blanket, booster cables, road flares, a flashlight, bottled water, high energy munchies, gloves, a stocking cap and boots, a windshield scraper, towrope and first aid kit in your vehicle at all times.
Some driving tips for winter:
• Reduce your speed during winter driving conditions.
• Avoid driving into a snow cloud.
• Stay well back from snowplows.
• Plan ahead and be patient. Try to drive during daylight hours and to drive with another person, if possible.
• Check before passing other vehicles.
• Keep your gas tank full and your vehicle in good repair and prepared for New
Mexico’s harsh winters with regular oil changes and antifreeze, battery and brake check-ups. Ensure your tires have good tread.
• Don’t use your cruise control as it can reduce vehicle control on wet or icy roads.
If stranded in a winter storm, follow these tips:
• Stay in your vehicle.
• Remain calm. The storm will end and you will be found. Your main concern should conserving body heat and energy. You will not starve to death. Do not attempt to push your car or shovel in extreme storm conditions. Injury from tools, a slipping vehicle, exhaustion or heart attack could be the result.
• Keep fresh air in your vehicle. Avoid possible carbon monoxide poisoning by turning off the ignition and cracking open a window.
• Stay warm by keeping your blood circulating. Loosen tight clothing, change your position frequently, move your arms and legs, massage fingers and toes, and elevate your feet to improve circulation.
Drivers should always plan ahead when traveling during winter weather. By following the tips listed above, drivers not only create safe driving conditions for themselves but for other motorists. For further road condition information, call the NMSHTD Road Conditions Hotline at
1-800-432-4269.