OPINION: Be safe out there on the roads, waterways

Published 11:32 am Wednesday, July 3, 2024

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An Editorial Opinion of The Demopolis Times

The Independence Day holiday is upon us, and with that, there is going to be a lot of traveling going on land and water.

While this should be a happy time that you will get to enjoy some rest and relaxation while spending quality time with your family, it also can be one of the more dangerous times of the year to travel. AAA of Alabama is expecting a nearly 8% increase in travel this holiday week.

And Demopolis’ waterways are likely going to be busy, especially as the lock and dam recently reopened after being closed for about four months.

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This is a good time to review some important safety tips to make sure you’re arriving safely at your destination and that you have fun out on the water.

Here are a few road safety tips to be reminded ofL

  • First, slow down. Allow plenty of time to reach your destination so that you do not have to the urge to speed on the highways. 
  • Make sure to check your vehicle prior to your trip. Check your fluid levels. Check your tires and battery. Perform any routine maintenance that is needed, such as an oil change or tire rotation.
  • Make sure your driver keeps away from unnecessary distractions. Use your hand-free devices with your phone. Let your passengers operate your music playlist and respond to messages. If you have to do something with your phone, pull off the roadway and find a safe place to park while you respond on your phone. 
  • Obviously, do not drink or use other substances while driving.

Here are some boating safety tips:

  • Before you get out on the water, check your boat and perform any maintenance that you need. Check to make sure that you have enough life jackets for everyone on your boats and that they fit properly.
  • Wear your life jacket at all times on your boat. It’s the law for all persons 8 years and under to wear a life jacket, but adults can be a good example by wearing them too.
  • Also, anyone who is being towed by a boat or jet ski must also wear a life jacket, along with everyone on a boat within 800 feet below a dam.
  • Practice safe and courteous boating practices. The Alabama Law Enforcement Agency said, “be aware of what is going on around you, know the laws and rules of the waterway, and be considerate of other boaters.”
  • And just like with driving, do not drink or use other substances while boating.

Let’s keep everyone safe out there!