By: Jimmy Watt
Public Information Officer
(Walhalla, SC)——————With the busiest travel day of the year for motorists tomorrow and the busiest shopping day of the year this Friday, the Oconee County Sheriff’s Office is providing some tips to help keep you safe over the Thanksgiving holiday and weekend.
AAA Carolinas is reporting that an estimated 660,000 South Carolinians are expected to travel 50 miles or more this weekend, with Wednesday and Sunday being the days in which the most traffic is anticipated.
“Gasoline prices are some of the lowest we have seen in several years, so expect to have quite a bit of company on the roads if you travel,” according to Jimmy Watt, Public Information Officer for the Sheriff’s Office. “There are a few things you can do before you hit the road to help make your vehicle safe. Obviously make sure you vehicle is ready for travel by making sure that your tires are properly inflated and all your vehicle fluids are full. Second, plan out your trip and make sure that you know what route you will be taking and make sure your family and friends are aware of the route you will be traveling. Make sure you cell phones have a full battery as well in case you have to call for help.”
“Once you are on the roads, try to leave as early as you can on Wednesday,” says PIO Watt. “Traffic volume will increase as the day goes along, with the peak travel time between noon and 7pm, especially along the interstates and main highways. Also, anticipate an increased law enforcement presence and with the increased traffic volume, the potential for accidents goes up. Finally, be patient. Many people will be using the same roads you do so be courteous. Then, everyone will be returning home on Sunday so expect some heavy traffic volume then and continue to exercise caution and patience.”
In regards to shopping on Black Friday, many retailers will be opening their stores on Thanksgiving Day, not just early Friday morning. There is always the potential for theft and you may want to be prepared for the possibility that stores may have increased security measures in place.
Oconee County Sheriff Mike Crenshaw offers the following safety tips to increase your safety and decrease your chances of becoming a victim of a crime.
-Don’t buy more than you can carry. Bring along a friend to help, or ask an employee or another shopper for assistance when carrying packages to your car.
-Shop with only one credit card. It simplifies canceling purchases. Credit cards are considered generally safer than debit cards, especially when shopping online.
-Never leave your purse, wallet or phone unattended. Deter pickpockets by holding these items close to your person.
-Have your keys in hand when approaching your car, and remember to check the backseat before getting in.
-Have a plan for meeting at a pre-designated area in case you become separated from your children.
-Put purchases in the trunk if making multiple stops.
-Notify law enforcement or a store employee if you see an unattended bag or package.
-Obey The Laws… Drive the speed limit, stop at stop signs and don’t park in handicap spots. Be mindful of pedestrians, especially children.
“Also, if you plan to stay at home this weekend or stay within the confines of Oconee County, please know that we will have our normal and routine law enforcement operations going on and we will be monitoring the roads and shopping centers,” says Sheriff Crenshaw. “Dispatch will be staffed as normal and will be available to handle calls for service, so if you have an emergency or need law enforcement to respond to where you are, we will be ready to respond.”