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The Shawnee News-Star
  • Busy travel week expected for Thanksgiving holiday

  • With the Thanksgiving holiday this week, state roadways are expected to busy and area law enforcement officers ask drivers to take precautions to stay safe this holiday.
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    With the Thanksgiving holiday this week, state roadways are expected to busy and area law enforcement officers ask drivers to take precautions to stay safe this holiday.
     
     
     
    “While you’re making those important holiday plans, take a little time to make smart choices about your travel, too,” said Oklahoma Highway Patrol Capt. Garrett Vowell, Impaired Driving Enforcement Coordinator.
     
     
     
    Vowell said anyone who attends a gathering where alcohol is served should plan ahead to designate a non-drinking driver.
     
     
     
    “If you’ve been drinking, don’t get behind the wheel, period,” he said.
     
     
     
    He also urges drivers to be aware of the side effects of both prescription and over-the-counter medications.
     
     
     
    “Many people don’t realize that medicines can cause impairments too,” he said. “Always talk to your doctor or pharmacist about potential side effects, and don’t drive if you’re taking a medication that can cause sleepiness, dizziness, or impaired reaction time.”
     
     
     
    During the 2012 Thanksgiving holiday period, 12 people died and 391 were injured in Oklahoma traffic crashes. Four fatalities and 44 injuries resulted from alcohol-related crashes, according to the Oklahoma Highway Safety Office.
     
     
     
    Area law enforcement officers will be watching for impaired and unsafe drivers this holiday.
     
     
     
    The OHSO also recommends these steps for safe Thanksgiving travel:
     
    • Make sure all children in your vehicle are placed in age-appropriate car seats and all adults are buckled up.
     
    • Don’t allow distractions. Put away the cell phone and electronic equipment while driving.
     
    • Don’t drive drowsy. Get plenty of sleep before driving, and schedule frequent stops along the way.
     
    • Plan ahead for inclement weather, and make sure your vehicle contains appropriate emergency equipment.
     
     
     
    “If you see an impaired driver on the road, contact local law enforcement or dial *55 from any cell phone to alert the Oklahoma Highway Patrol,” Vowell said. “Our goal is to keep Oklahomans safe on the roads this holiday
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    season.”
     
     
     
    The American Red Cross suggests everyone make sure that their vehicles are in good working order before heading out. Remember to: Pack emergency supplies like blankets, water and snacks, flashlight and first aid kit; Fill the fuel tank, check air pressure in tires and top-off windshield fluid.
     
     
     
    As motorists prepare for their travels, the Oklahoma Department of Transportation said there are many areas where motorists will find road construction.
     
     
     
    The following projects are some that will impact travel on major highways from Wednesday, Nov. 27 to Sunday, Dec. 1.
     
     
     
    • I-40 is narrowed to one lane in each direction between US-283 and SH-152 near Sayre.
     
     
     
    • US-183 is narrowed to one lane at Glen Creek approximately 11 miles north of US-62B in Snyder.
     
     
     
    • Westbound SH-7 is narrowed to one lane between SH-65 and I-44 near Lawton.
     
     
     
    • SH-18 is closed in each direction at West Beaver Creek one mile south of SH-105 near Agra in Lincoln County. The southbound detour is SH-105 west to US-177, US-177 south to SH-66 and SH-66 east to SH-18. Northbound detour is SH-66 west to US-177, US-177 north to SH-105 and SH-105 east to SH-18.
     
     
     
    • SH-66 is closed in each direction at the Deep Fork River one mile east of US-177 near Warwick in Lincoln County. A local detour is in place.
     
     
     
    • US-60 narrowed at US-59 junction near Afton, Ottawa County.
     
     
     
    • East and westbound US-60 is narrowed and traffic is shifted to the eastbound bridge at the US-59 junction east of Afton.
     
     
     
    • US-169 is narrowed in each direction near the US-60 junction south of Nowata.
     
     
     
    • Northbound lanes of US-69 are narrowed from Kiowa to approximately six miles north of Kiowa.
     
     
     
    Page 3 of 4 - Oklahoma City Metro
     
    • Broadway Ext./I-235/I-44 interchange in Oklahoma City
     
    Drivers can expect the following ongoing lane and ramp closures at the Broadway Ext./I-235/I-44 interchange. Throughout the project, drivers are advised to expect lengthy delays.
     
    The eastbound I-44 on-ramp
    from Western Ave. will be closed until further notice
    The right lane of eastbound I-44 will be closed from Western Ave. through the I-235 interchange throughout the project
     
     
     
    • I-40 narrowed, lanes shifted; SH-4 (Mustang Rd.) narrowed in Yukon
     
    I-40 is narrowed to two lanes in each direction between Garth Brooks Blvd. in Yukon and Council Rd. in Oklahoma City. The speed limit is lowered to 55 mph.
     
    East and westbound I-40 is shifted slightly between Morgan Rd. and Mustang Rd.
     
    SH-4 (Mustang Rd.) is narrowed between Reno Ave. and N.W. 10th St.
     
     
     
    • I-35 ramps at Main St. in Norman closed
     
    All ramps at the I-35/Main St. interchange in Norman will remain closed until the new ramps are completed. Drivers are encouraged to exit I-35 at Robinson St. when coming from the north or at Lindsey St. from the south or avoid the area if possible. East and westbound Main St. remains open through all phases of construction
     
     
     
    • I-35 narrowed south of Norman
     
    North and southbound I-35 are narrowed to two lanes at the South Canadian River bridge, south of SH-9 East in Norman. Motorists are advised to expect congestion and use US-77 as an alternate route; however, it is an active work zone.
     
     
     
    And while millions of Americans will be preparing meals, The American Red Cross also has safety tips for the kitchen.
     
     
     
    “More home cooking fires occur on Thanksgiving than on any other day of the year,” said Janienne Bella, Central and Western Oklahoma Regional CEO. “The week of Thanksgiving is also one of the busiest travel periods. We want people to arrive at their destinations, enjoy time with their loved ones and make it home safely.”
     
     
     
    Page 4 of 4 - Cooking is the leading cause of home fires and related injuries so the ARC offers these safety tips:
     
     
     
    • Keep children and pets at least three feet away from the cooking area.
     
    • Clean all cooking surfaces to prevent grease buildup.
     
    • Stay in the kitchen while frying, grilling or broiling food. Turn burners off if leaving the kitchen.
     
    • Keep a pan lid or baking sheet nearby. Use it to cover the pan if it catches on fire.
     
    • Place turkey fryers outside and away from the house, deck and garage.
     
     
     
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