Thanksgiving holiday driving tips

By QCS Staff

State police have launched a DWI blitz in an effort to keep New Mexico’s roads safe, and alcohol free, during the Thanksgiving weekend.

The New Mexico State Police will be conducting DWI checkpoints in Quay County from Thursday through Monday, said Lt. Cleo Baker.

The checkpoints are part of the annual New Mexico Thanksgiving DWI Enforcement Super Blitz launched on Nov. 16 and ends Dec. 2.
In 2006, there were more than 300 accidents statewide during the Thanksgiving holiday, according to a New Mexico Department of Transportation news release. Nine of the accidents were fatal and seven of those fatal accidents were alcohol-related, the release stated.

“It is a top priority of State Police officers and local enforcement agencies across the state to arrest drunk drivers, and during the holidays all officers are especially vigilant,” said New Mexico State Police Chief Faron Segotta in the release. “We are absolutely committed to maintaining the progress made this year in reducing drunk driving. Everyone is at risk when people choose to drive after drinking. In New Mexico ‘You Drink, You Drive, You Lose’ is not just a slogan, it’s our commitment.”

There will no doubt be an increase of vehicular traffic on our highways and city streets, Daniel Lopez, consultant for the Tucumcari Police Department, said.

TheTPD urges you to consider using the following strategies to remain safe:
• Drive during daylight hours with your headlights on dim.
• Drive slower and increase your following distance: This allows more time to react if an accident occurs.
• Remove all snow and ice from your windows and lights before driving your vehicle.
• Approach intersections, bridges, shady spots, turns and overpasses with caution. Drive slow and remember that these areas remain icy long after the normal roadway is clear and dry.
• Always wear your seatbelt
• Plan ahead: Carry a blanket, food, water, shovel and other safety/survival equipment in your vehicle in case you become stranded.
• If you become stranded: Remain in your vehicle, run your engine only for brief times and open your window to prevent carbon monoxide poisoning.Make sure your vehicle tailpipe is free of snow and debris.
Also, with the possibility of snow this Thanksgiving weekend, here are some driving safety tips from the New Mexico Department of Transportation.

Winter weather driving tips:
• Reduce your speed
The best accident prevention on snow and ice is to slow down. Leave plenty of room between you and the vehicle in front of you for emergencies.
• Practice good winter driving techniques
Keep your gas tank full, turn on your headlights, keep your windshield washer fluid full with antifreeze, keep winter driving chains in your vehicle, have a winter survival kit that includes – flashlight, hand warmer packets, first aid supplies, high energy snacks and read your owner’s manual for special instructions on driving 4-wheel drive vehicles and vehicles with anti-lock brake systems on snow and ice.
• Avoid driving into a snow cloud
Large vehicles such as semi-trailer trucks and snow plows may produce dense clouds of blowing snow that make it difficult for drivers to see. When drivers encounter snow clouds, they should stay back to avoid the cloud.
• Plan ahead, be patient
Delays are common during bad weather. Leave a little early and be patient with delays.
• Check before you pass
Know where a snow plow and blade are before trying to pass. On multi-lane highways, the plow can be in your blind spot. Before attempting to pass, make sure it is safe.