Santa says careful planning key to safe travel

Christmas is travel time for many Americans, and weather can often be a problem. The Franklin County Traffic Safety Board wants everyone to have a safe trip, whether you are traveling this Christmas or anytime.So, we elicited help from the old pro, Santa Claus, for advice. After all, doesn’t he travel a million miles or more every Christmas Eve? Have you ever heard of Santa crashing and not being able to complete his deliveries? Of course not, which means he must be doing something right. So, we (TSB) requested an interview with Santa. Lucky for us he agreed to do the interview over the phone, saving us a trip to the North Pole.

TSB – Santa, what do you think is the most important thing that our readers should do to ensure they have a safe trip?

Santa – Oh, my, Ho, Ho, Ho! There are many things you need to do for a safe trip. One important thing is to leave in plenty of time, so you won’t need to speed. If I got a late start, my reindeer would have to fly so fast we might crash into something. If that happened, we’d never finish our rounds, not to speak of getting hurt. Slow down – it’s better to be a bit late than not get there at all, even for old Santa.

TSB – Yes, that makes sense, Santa. What else should we do?

Santa – Ho, Ho, Ho! Having your vehicle in good condition is very important. If my sleigh had a bad runner, do you think that would make for a safe trip? If you had bad tires on your car and you hit a snow storm, would YOU have a safe trip? And what if your lights weren’t working properly or one of them was burned out? You certainly couldn’t see as well, and, worse yet, other drivers couldn’t see you either. And, what if your wipers were old and streaky and a big truck passed you spraying slush and water on your windshield – that certainly would affect your ability to see where you were going.

TSB – Right again, Santa. Anything else?

Santa – Sure, Ho, Ho, Ho! Drivers should be rested and physically fit to drive. That means they should get proper sleep before the trip, keep alert while driving, stop periodically for a stretch and rest break from constant driving, and never drive more than 10 hours in one day. And of course, don’t do distracting things while driving. I sometimes wish I didn’t have to deliver these smart phones to young people because I see how they get distracted with them while driving. If I were to be on the phone or texting while delivering toys on Christmas Eve, not only would it be dangerous, but I might get so distracted I would forget many deserving people – they sure would be disappointed on Christmas morning if they didn’t get anything from Santa, wouldn’t they?

TSB – right again, Santa. Time for one more suggestion.

Santa – Ho, Ho, Ho! Know where you are going! If I didn’t have a plan before I left the North Pole, I’d never get my job done. Drivers should know what routes they need to use – do some advanced planning. And, be prepared for the unexpected. If you encounter a crash that slows you down, keep your cool – there’s nothing you can do about it anyway. So, take care when you drive, whether it’s around home or on a trip.

TSB – Thanks, Santa, for sharing these safety tips with us. And, to everyone from all of us on the Franklin County Traffic Safety Board, have a Merry Christmas and a safe holiday season to all!