On Duty with the CHP: Summer driving is here, so be safe

CHP officer Traci Gallian
CHP officer Traci Gallian sflores@fresnobee.com

Memorial Day means summer is here and it marks the start of the summer vacation schedule.

The California Highway Patrol wants everyone to have an enjoyable summer full of smiles and quality memories. To accomplish this, here are a few summer travel tips to keep you safe:

▪ Don’t drink and drive. Driving with a blood alcohol content of 0.08 percent or more is illegal, but even with a lower BAC, a driver may be impaired and may be taken to jail. A DUI conviction can cost thousands of dollars, not to mention the possibility of seriously injuring yourself and another person. If you plan on drinking, don’t drive. Make a plan to get home safely and stick to the plan; always designate a sober driver.

▪ Buckle up. It only takes a few seconds to buckle up your seat belt, and those seconds could save your life or the life of family and friends. Child safety seats are the law. A child passenger restraint system is required to be located in the rear seat of a motor vehicle until they are at least 8 years old, or are 4 feet 9 inches tall. If you are having difficulty installing the child safety seat or you are not sure you have installed the seat properly, contact your local CHP office and make an appointment to have the seat checked.

▪ Do not leave your child under the age of 13 or animals in a vehicle unattended. We all know how hot it gets in the central San Joaquin Valley. Even when leaving the windows partially down in your vehicle, it only takes a few minutes for the interior temperature to become dangerously high. Not only is it against the law to leave a child or animal in the vehicle unattended, more importantly, it can be a deadly mistake.

▪ Have your vehicle serviced before you go. Checking the tread wear and air pressure in your tires can prevent trip interruption. It’s a good idea to check the condition of your spare tire, too. Always carry water, snacks, cellphone, and a change of clothes.

▪ During the summer months, there is a significant increase in the number of vehicles on California’s and the nation’s roadways, so slow down and be courteous to other motorists. Families take to the highways for vacations and extended trips, and while these outings can start off as a happy occasion, they can also result in tragedy as a result of negligence, a failure to drive defensively, or not taking the necessary steps to ensure safe travels. The CHP encourages you to always be prepared.

As you appreciate the time with friends and family, remember the people who have sacrificed and given so much to our great nation, which has allowed us to enjoy the liberties we share today. Happy Memorial Day!

“Words are even more feeble on this Memorial Day, for the sight before us is that of a strong and good nation that stands in silence and remembers those who were loved and who, in return, loved their countrymen enough to die for them.” – President Ronald Reagan

Officer Traci Gallian can be reached at tagallian@chp.ca.gov. For more from the CHP Central Division, go to the division’s Facebook page.