Summer’s unofficial kickoff is just days away, and ALEA Troopers urge motorists and boaters to make safety a top priority.
ALEA’s Secretary Hal Taylor said, “Memorial Day weekend is a popular time for road trips to the beach, lake or other warm-weather hot spots. With the public’s assistance on Alabama roadways and waterways, we all can have fun, as well as get to and from our destinations safely.”
This year, the official holiday travel period begins at 12:01 a.m. Friday, May 22, and concludes at midnight Monday, May 25. During the four-day period, ALEA will assign all available Troopers from ALEA’s Highway Patrol and Marine Patrol Divisions to patrol roadways and bodies of water across the state. In addition to regular holiday patrol and enforcement activities, Troopers will be available to assist motorists and boaters in distress.
ALEA offers the following safety tips for the upcoming extended holiday weekend:
On the road
• Buckle up – no matter how short the trip. (Even back-seat occupants must use seat belts or child restraints.
• Do not drive under the influence of alcohol/drugs. (Select a designated driver in advance or plan to use a ride-share service.)
• Do not drive while distracted. (Distractions are not limited to texting. The list includes passengers, radio, food and other items or activities that take your focus off driving.)
• Mind your speed. Speed limits are set for a reason!
• Expect traffic congestion, particularly along popular routes to the beach or lake. (Leave early if you must arrive by a specific time.)
On the water
• Make it a habit each time to check the boat’s safety equipment before departing.
• Do not boat under the influence of alcohol/drugs. (Select a designated driver beforehand.)
• Have a personal flotation device (PFD) on board for each person on your boat. Children 7 and younger must wear PFDs at all times. (Make sure PFDs are in good condition, sized for intended individuals and U.S. Coast Guard-approved.)
• Be courteous and cautious. Know the rules of the water, including what to do in a head-to-head meeting, who has the right of way and other regulations.
• When boating at night, make sure required navigation lights are on and in good working order. Operate at slower speeds, and don’t venture into unfamiliar territory.
• Give other boaters plenty of room. Don’t operate too close to private docks or the shoreline; and give skiers and swimmers a wide berth.
• Never overload a vessel. Follow the capacity plate guidelines.
In addition, it is important to adhere to the Alabama Department of Public Health’s safety guidelines designed to combat the spread of COVID-19. ALEA urges everyone to practice social distancing and leave at least a 6-foot distance between individuals from different households while visiting beaches, lakes, parks and other public locations.