Dec 20, 2013 9:20 PM by Victoria Johnson
It's that time of year when travelers will take to the roads and skies. AAA estimates nearly 95 million Americans will travel 50 miles or more beginning tomorrow through January 1st. The first day of winter starts tomorrow. With Christmas less than a week away and New Year's close thereafter, this is a good time to make sure you are safe wherever you travel this holiday season.
A few good tips to keep in mind while traveling are to consider leaving a day early or a day late to avoid heavy traffic on peak days, make sure your car is properly maintained and plan ahead of time whether you plan to jump in your car or board a flight.
"I'm pretty not stressed about traveling because we are leaving early," said Emily Nugent of Atascadero.
With millions expected to travel, airports are busy across the nation.
"With flight delays caused by weather, that typically moves through the whole system so a problem in the Midwest may affect airports on the west coast like San Luis Obispo," said Kevin Bumen, General Manager of the San Luis Obispo County Regional Airport.
"Get to the airport early and check your flight status online or by calling the airline are other tips Bumen suggests.
"Bring plenty of patience. If everyone shows up with a positive attitude, it is a positive experience for everyone," said Bumen.
If you will be driving, make sure your car has been properly maintained.
"Have your tires inflated properly, you pay attention to roadway conditions and plan your travel ahead of time. If you have your mapping and destination really mapped out, it helps your plan to get there safely," said Captain Christopher Staley, San Luis Obispo Police Department.
Local law enforcement will be enforcing DUI checkpoints across the Central Coast.
"But it does raise the awareness of people that come through, that these are in place and they could be driving through one at any time," said Captain Staley.
A lot of arrests from checkpoints come from people driving on a suspended license.
"If you are going to go out and celebrate, we suggest obviously you take a designated driver, take a cab or make plans a head of time," said Captain Staley.
Extra time will help you get to your destination before Santa arrives. Whether you will be spending hours in the car or on a plane, wear comfortable clothes and pack lightly.
If you do plan on flying, take an extra change of clothes in a carry-on bag in case your checked bag gets lost.
As for DUI checkpoints, Arroyo Grande's DUI and driver's license checkpoint will start at 8:30 this evening and run until 2 tomorrow morning. Santa Maria and Santa Barbara will be holding checkpoints tonight starting at 6 until 2 tomorrow morning.
There is one scheduled in Paso Robles on December 28th.
Santa Maria police say that research shows by raising awareness through publicizing checkpoints ahead of time, alcohol related crashes drop by 20%. So far, there have been 17 DUI arrests in San Luis Obispo County since Friday, December 13th.
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