At the height of last Friday's snowstorm, Cobb County 911 operators received over 100 reports of motor vehicle accidents in one afternoon.
According to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Cobb County schools and government offices closed early on Friday and many people left work early to try and beat traffic. This caused what Cobb County police spokesman Sergeant Dana Pierce described as a "mini rush hour" early in the afternoon. Pierce also noted that drivers were going too fast for the slippery conditions.
The spike in Cobb County car accidents prompted us to share some reminders about safe driving this holiday season.
Holiday Safety Tips for Cobb County Drivers
Wintry conditions, more holiday travelers on the road, and increased alcohol consumption during the holidays can be a very dangerous combination. Here are some tips to help you stay safe.
Drive the right speed for weather conditions
If it is raining or snowing, slow down. Black ice can make roads dangerously slippery, even if the roads appear clear and dry. Not only is driving too fast potentially dangerous, it can also result in a "Too Fast for Conditions" traffic stop. Once someone is pulled over for a traffic stop, the police have the right to investigate any other offenses they may observe.
Give yourself extra time
Increased traffic and wintry weather can mean longer travel times during the holiday season. Give yourself extra time to travel, rather than speeding to make up lost time.
Plan ahead if you're going to drink
A first DUI conviction in Cobb County can result in jail time, fines, and a permanent criminal record, not to mention the increased potential for accidents and injuries due to driving while impaired.
Make safety part of your holiday party and travel planning. If you're going to a bar or to a party and you think you might be drinking alcohol, plan ahead for how you're going to get home safely. Choose a designated driver who will not consume any alcohol. If you don't have a designated driver, call a ride service or cab if you've been drinking. Worst case, get a hotel room or a tow home. Either of those options are safer and less expensive than a DUI arrest.
And remember, "driving under the influence" doesn't just mean driving under the influence of alcohol. Use of prescription drugs, over-the-counter medications, and illegal drugs can all result in a DUI arrest.
Avoid distractions while driving
It can be tempting to answer the phone, check the weather forecast, or send a quick text message letting someone know you're running late. However, taking your eyes off the road, particularly in heavy traffic or wintry weather conditions, can have disastrous results. In some situations, it's also illegal.
Drivers under the age of 18 are forbidden from all "wireless telecommunications" activities, including talking on the phone and sending or receiving text messages while driving, except in emergency situations. Drivers over the age of 18 are also forbidden from sending or reading text messages while driving.
We hope you and your family have a safe and happy holiday season.