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Tips for safe holiday travel

As families begin their travels this holiday season, the N.C. Department of Transportation will suspend most road construction activities on major routes across the state in hopes of making the trip a little smoother.
By avoiding traffic delays, motorists can reach their destinations safely and efficiently, while cutting down on fuel consumption and costs.
NCDOT will suspend most construction projects along interstate, N.C. and U.S. routes, from 4 p.m. on Friday, Dec. 20, until 9 a.m. on Monday, Jan. 6, with six exceptions:
• In Raleigh (Wake County), the two lanes of the I-40 West ramp onto I-440 West will remain reduced to one lane and I-440 West will remain in a two-lane pattern from I-40 toward U.S. 64/264 as a part of the Fortify project;
• U.S. 1 just north of Aberdeen (Moore County) will remain reduced to one lane in each direction for construction of a new bridge;
• U.S. 158 (Elizabeth Street) in Elizabeth City will remain reduced to one lane in each direction over the Pasquotank River for resurfacing and construction of a new bridge;
• The Wright Memorial Bridge (Currituck and Dare counties) on U.S. 158 West will remain closed for deck repair. All traffic will continue traveling on the eastbound bridge, one lane in each direction;
• U.S. 13 will remain closed to all traffic north of Windsor (Bertie County) for replacement of the bridge over the Cashie River. A signed detour currently in place will take traffic on School Road, N.C. 308 and the U.S. 13/U.S. 17 Bypass; and
• I-73 in Greensboro (Guilford County) will remain reduced to two lanes in each direction between I-40 and I-85 to build a new interchange with High Point Road.
For real-time travel information at any time, call 511, visit the NCDOT website or follow NCDOT on Twitter.
Another way to “know before you go” is with NCDOT Mobile, a phone-friendly version of the NCDOT website. The site has a number of features to help travelers, in addition to providing up-to-the-minute traffic information. To access it, type “m.ncdot.gov” into the browser of your smartphone.
Here are some additional tips for navigating the highways safely during the holiday travel season:
• Leave early to get a head start on your drive. Travel at non-peak hours when possible.
• Stay alert. Even if work is suspended, you may encounter narrowed lanes and traffic shifts in work zones.
• Be patient and obey the posted speed limit.
• Use alternate routes, when possible, to avoid traffic congestion.
• Stay informed. Real-time travel information is available online and over the phone by dialing 511.
• Don’t drive drowsy. Travel at times when you are normally awake, and take frequent breaks.
• Avoid distracted driving. When drivers stop focusing on the road ahead, they react more slowly to traffic conditions and are more likely to be involved in an accident.
In addition, the Holiday “Booze It & Lose It” campaign began Dec. 13 and runs through Jan. 5. Law enforcement officers across the state will hold checkpoints and step up patrols to catch drivers who break the law during the holidays. NCDOT produced a public service announcement to remind motorists to make sure they are on Santa’s nice list by not drinking and driving.
While you travel this holiday season, remember that your job is to be a safe driver, so focus on the road and let everything else wait until you arrive at your destination.

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