If you're planning on traveling this holiday season, consider incorporating various safety tips into your travel plans.

With the yearly Thanksgiving traffic congestion statewide, the Alabama Department of Transportation cautions drivers to stay alert to decrease vehicle crash injuries and fatalities.

In their efforts to provide added safety for travelers, road construction and maintenance workers, ALDOT announced on Monday, the Alabama Department of Transportation will have no temporary lane closures on interstates during the Thanksgiving holiday from noon on Nov. 25 through 11:59 p.m. Nov. 29.

Alabama Rest Areas and Welcome Centers will be open to the public. However, ALDOT asks travelers to practice social distancing and follow the state and local agencies' public health guidelines.

For the safety of law enforcement, emergency responders, tow truck drivers and others, the Alabama Move Over law requires drivers to move over a lane or slow down when there are vehicles with flashing lights on the side of the road.

Consider the following holiday highway safety tips and statistics:

• Always wear a seat belt, including passengers in the front and rear seats. The odds greatly favor those wearing a seat belt. Almost 57% of people who died from a vehicle crash in Alabama in 2019 were not wearing a seat belt. ALDOT reports last year, 15 people died in crashes on Alabama’s roadways during the Thanksgiving holiday.

• Slow down. Speeding is the leading cause of fatal crashes in Alabama.

• Drive alert, drowsy driving contributed to more than 2,600 vehicle crashes in Alabama last year. ALDOT advises taking a break from driving every two hours to help drivers stay alert.

Also, this year, with the COVID-19 pandemic and the surge of cases, health and government officials caution people against traveling.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention stated travel increases your chances of contracting and spreading COVID-19.

“Staying home is the best way to protect yourself and others,” said CDC officials.

According to the CDC, wearing a mask while traveling is a must and strongly recommended on public transportation such as airplanes, trains, ships, ferries, subways, taxis and rideshares.

Before traveling during the COVID-19 pandemic, the CDC urges people to consider the following safety tips:

• Is COVID-19 spreading at your destination? The more cases at your destination, the more likely you are to get infected during travel and spread the virus to others when you return.

• Wear a mask to keep your nose and mouth covered when in public settings.

• Avoid close contact by staying at least 6 feet apart from anyone who is not from your household.

• Wash your hands often or use hand sanitizers with at least 60% alcohol

• Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth.

• When getting gas, use disinfecting wipes on handles and buttons at the gas pumps before you torch them if available.

• After fueling, use a hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol. When you reach your destination, wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.

• The safest option for food stops while traveling is to bring your food. If you can’t, use a drive-thru, take-out, and curbside pick-up options.

Motorists traveling in Alabama may consider downloading the ALGO Traffic app in the Apple Store and on Google Play to access real-time road work, traffic and weather conditions. ALDOT asks motorists to use ALGO Traffic responsibly. Drivers should never text, tweet, or use a mobile device while driving a vehicle.

For more information, visit www.cdc.gov, follow Drive Safe Alabama @DriveSafeAL on social media, or www.dot.state.al.us.

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