This week Kansas roads will be busy with holiday travelers. It is predicted to be one of the highest traveled Thanksgivings in recent history. The Kansas Department of Transportation, Kansas Turnpike Authority, and Kansas Highway Patrol want to remind motorists to prepare in advance for travel, and make responsible choices as they travel.
“The holiday season is often when we travel and visit with family, which means it is also the time to be safe on the roads,” said Secretary of Transportation Richard Carlson. “This Thanksgiving holiday, KDOT would like to remind those on the road to buckle up, obey speed limits and traffic signs, and be responsible when behind the wheel so we can all have a wonderful holiday season.”
“Travelers using the turnpike should watch for signs directing them to the appropriate lanes for their payment method—cash at the tollbooth or with a valid, compatible transponder from Kansas, Oklahoma, or Texas,” said David Jacobson, KTA’s Director of Engineering. “Being alert is important to the safety of everyone on the road.”
Kansas Highway Patrol, along with local law enforcement organizations from throughout the state, will mobilize to participate in the annual Special Traffic Enforcement Program (STEP) campaign. The program is courtesy of a grant from the Kansas Department of Transportation. The STEP program will run in conjunction with the Patrol’s participation in the CARE (Combined Accident Reduction Effort) program. CARE is a revitalized program with the goal of reducing fatality and injury crashes. Other state police and highway patrols across the nation will participate in the CARE program as well. Both STEP and CARE target impaired drivers, and focus on enforcing seat belt and child restraint laws, as well as other traffic safety laws.
Before hitting the road for travels, motorists are encouraged to take the following into consideration:
Make sure your vehicle is in good working order. Check tires’ tread depth and air pressure; check the vehicle’s fluids, exhaust system, and other mechanical equipment. If traveling in winter conditions, make sure added precautions are taken for the cold weather.
Check your route of travel for road conditions and/or construction work or other delays before you leave. The Kansas Department of Transportation (KDOT) provides a 511 road condition hotline for motorists to use. Call 5-1-1 from any phone, or visit www.kandrive.org to check roads in the state of Kansas.
Remember, we are in the peak time for car-deer crashes in our state. Look out for deer, and if you see one, remember they seldom travel alone.
If you’re celebrating and consuming alcohol, make sure you designate a sober driver beforehand, and give them your keys. If you have no ride, call a taxi or a family member to get you home safely.
If travelers are in need of assistance on a Kansas highway, or to report a suspected impaired driver, they should call *47 (*HP) for the Kansas Highway Patrol, or dial *582 (*KTA) on the Kansas Turnpike. Dispatchers and troopers will both be working throughout the holiday weekend.