MSHP encourages safety during New Year’s celebrations

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The Missouri State Highway Patrol encourages everyone to make good decisions regarding their New Year’s celebration.

According to a news release from the patrol, last year, over the New Year’s holiday counting period, eight people died and 302 people were injured in 539 traffic crashes. That means one person was killed or injured every 15.1 minutes during that time frame.

New Year’s is an opportunity to spend time with friends and family and many Missourians will plan special gatherings to welcome 2018. If your plans include alcohol, remember that nothing ruins a party like a DWI arrest or a drinking-related traffic crash on your way home. Designate a sober driver before the party starts. If you cause a traffic crash, your New Year might begin with being arrested, facing legal fees and medical bills, and perhaps jail time. You could lose your license and will have to face your family and friends. If you kill or injure someone, you’ll pay the price for the rest of your life. Designate a sober driver or take a taxi.

As you drive to your New Year’s gathering, remember to buckle up and obey all traffic laws. Be a courteous driver: When in doubt, yield the right-of-way. Pay attention and use your turn signal to communicate your intentions to other drivers. The posted speed limit reflects the roadway’s classification and is not a suggestion. There’s no reason to speed—the party starts after you arrive safely.

If inclement weather is expected, allow extra time for traveling or be flexible with your plans. The Road Condition Report number is 1-888-275-6636. Depending on the weather, staying home might be your best option. Remember: Missouri law states if you’re using your windshield wipers, your headlights must be turned on. It takes only a second to turn on your vehicle’s headlights. That second could make you more visible to other drivers and prevent a traffic crash.