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Oconee County Sheriff’s Office Issues 2021 Memorial Day Weekend Driving Safety Tips

(Walhalla, SC)-------------------------------With the Memorial Day weekend holiday, and the unofficial start of summer, just around the corner, the Oconee County Sheriff’s Office is offering some travel safety tips for those who are traveling to and from Oconee County.

“Last year, there was quite a bit of uncertainty in regards to holiday travel due to the COVID-19 pandemic and the recovery and clean-up from the April 13th, 2020 tornado,” says Oconee County Sheriff Mike Crenshaw. “This year, with the number of reported COVID cases down and pandemic restrictions being eased in many places across the country, there is the expectation that more people will be traveling this year. At the Sheriff’s Office, we are anticipating many motorists traveling through Oconee County this weekend and plenty of our citizens and tourists who will be enjoying our County owned recreation areas.”

AAA Carolinas recently announced that they are forecasting nearly 600,000 South Carolinians to travel this weekend, which includes almost 500,000 South Carolinians who will travel by a motor vehicle. AAA is expecting more than 37 million people to travel 50 or more miles between May 27th and May 31st, which is a 60% increase from last year, according to information released by the travel organization.

The South Carolina Department of Transportation has announced that restrictions on lane closures on interstate highways for non-emergency work will be in place from 6am, Friday, May 28th until 6am on Tuesday, June 1st.

If you are planning to travel for the Memorial Day weekend, the Oconee County Sheriff’s Office is offering these travel safety tips:

· Be patient and allow plenty of time to reach your destination. Prepare for the possibility of heavy traffic volumes off and on during the upcoming weekend.

· Even with lane closures for road construction projects restricted, obey the posted speed limits in those areas. Be aware for possible lane shifts in these areas and construction equipment on the side of the road too.

· Make sure to carefully check your vehicle before traveling. Check the air pressure in your tires according to the guidelines provided, make sure all vehicle fluids are at their proper levels and check your belts, hoses, brakes and windshield wipers. To prepare for the possibility of a flat tire, make sure your spare tire is properly inflated and that you have the proper equipment for putting on your spare tire if you need to.

· Plan out your route of travel before you leave your home and notify a family member or close friend of that route and how long you expect it will take you to reach your destination. Make sure to contact someone back home to let them know when you arrive at your destination as well.

· Make sure that your cell phone is fully charged and have a charger in your vehicle as well. In case you do become stranded, have some extra water or beverages and snacks in your vehicle.

· Avoid distractions if you are behind the wheel and make sure to always wear your seatbelts.

“As always, we encourage everyone not to drive under the influence, regardless if you are operating a vehicle, boat or any type of watercraft and to always have a designated driver,” says Oconee County Sheriff Mike Crenshaw. “As the Sheriff’s Office mentioned in a press release yesterday, County ordinances forbid the possession and consumption of alcoholic beverages at County owned recreation facilities. Also, it is illegal to start a fire in the beach areas at the County owned recreation facilities. We also ask those who are visiting our County owned recreation facilities to park only in designated areas and parking spaces. Parking at the entrances to these facilities blocks these entrances and creates a danger should first responders and public safety officers need to respond due to an emergency.”

Sheriff Crenshaw also reminds those traveling to and from Oconee County that littering is illegal throughout the entire county and those who are observed littering by law enforcement will be subject to fines and/or jail time.

“As a reminder to our citizens who will be staying at home this Memorial Day weekend as well as those traveling through Oconee County, our Uniform Patrol Division will be conducting normal and full patrol operations, which includes extra patrol requests we have received,” according to Sheriff Crenshaw. “Our Marine Units will also be providing enforcement and safety operations on our county lakes, weather permitting, and additional deputies will be performing enforcement activities at our County parks and recreation areas. Our E-911/Communications Center will be fully staffed and ready to take calls for service for law enforcement and county fire and rescue services. If our citizens need our assistance, we are just a phone call away and we stand ready to respond.”

For emergencies, also contact 911. For non-emergencies, contact the Oconee County Sheriff’s Office at 864-638-4111.

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