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Oconee County Sheriff’s Office Issues 2023 Memorial Day Weekend Driving Safety Tips

(Walhalla, SC)-------------------------------Memorial Day weekend, and the unofficial start of summer, is here. With vacations and travel on everyone’s minds, the Oconee County Sheriff’s Office is providing some travel safety tips as you prepare to drive the roads, highways and interstates.

AAA announced in a news release issued May 10th that 81% of South Carolinians will travel this year, with more than half (56%) of them will take a summer vacation.

In a news release issued by AAA on May 17th, the organization is projecting that 42.3 million Americans will travel 50 miles or more away from home this Memorial Day, a 7% increase over 2022, with an estimated 37.1 million Americans driving to their destination. AAA is also predicting an increase in South Carolinians traveling

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.

· 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.

· Anytime that you drink alcohol, please do not operate a motor vehicle, a boat or any type of personal watercraft. Also, have a designated driver or plan on using a ride sharing service.

The Sheriff’s Office would like to remind our citizens and visitors that County ordinances forbid the possession and consumption of alcoholic beverages at County owned parks and recreation facilities. Also, it is illegal to start a fire in the beach areas at the County owned parks and recreation facilities. If you plan to visit these areas over the summer, please 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.

The Sheriff’s Office also reminds our citizens and visitors 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.

“For our citizens who will be staying home this weekend, and for those traveling to and through Oconee County, our Uniform Patrol Division will be conducting normal and full patrol operations, which includes extra patrol requests we have received,” says Oconee County Sheriff Mike 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. For anyone needing 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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