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Pack your patience: Police, first responders take to the road as traffic picks up for the holidays

Posted at 5:57 PM, Nov 25, 2020
and last updated 2020-11-25 18:57:46-05

WACO, TX — Due to COVID-19, a lot more people are driving this holiday season to see loved ones. Not only will there be drivers on the road, but also more police officers and first responders to make sure everyone gets to their destinations safely.

“All of our men and women and troops are out there in full force. We don’t get the holidays off. We signed up for this. We would just like for everybody to watch for our emergency responders out there, and if there is a crash... be patient. We will get that off the highway and open it up as soon as we can,” said Sgt. Bryan Washko with the Texas Department of Public Safety.

DPS is participating in the nationwide Operation CARE (Crash Awareness and Reduction Effort) initiative. Troopers will be increasing patrols beginning Wednesday, November 25th through Sunday, November 29.

“One of the things drivers could be on the lookout for is an increase in law enforcement presence, because right now we’re actually in the middle of the “Click it or Ticket it” campaign, so you might see law enforcement on the side of the roadways increasing their enforcement of these seat belt laws,”said TxDOT Public Information Officer- Waco District Jacob Smith.

DPS Troopers will also be enforcing the “Move Over, Slow Down” law.

“The Move Over, Slow Down law requires the motorists to move over or slow down 20 mph below the posted speed limit if they are unable to vacate the lane. When you see their [emergency vehicles or tow trucks] lights activated on the side of the road, make sure you give them that safe void to work in because it is dangerous and we are out there working with this heavy traffic this weekend, and it poses a major threat to them,”said Sgt. Washko.

Some additional tips to get to your destination safely:

  • Plan ahead and check road conditions before heading out
  • Check your tires and make sure your vehicle is up to date on maintenance
  • Have a designated driver if you plan to have alcohol
  • Have a passenger work the navigation or answer your phone to prevent distracted driving

“There’s millions of motorist traveling right now, so you want to pack an extra helping of patience, because you're definitely going to encounter a lot of traffic. More than usual,” said Sgt. Washko.

TxDot told 25 News that starting Wednesday night and lasting through Sunday night, there will be no lane closures or roadwork activity through the I-35 corridor where the Waco construction project is active to give workers a break for the holidays and help with the flow of traffic.