'Tis the season for attending countless holiday parties. This time of the year can also bring increased motor vehicle accidents with injury or fatalities.
"Drunken driving crashes claim a victim who was not a drunk driver every two and a half hours," www.nhtsa.gov states.
Santa Rosa County Emergency Management and Lifeguard Ambulance Service remind the community to use extra care and caution this New Year’s Eve and throughout the holiday season, especially while driving.
Here’s how to avoid distracted driving:
Do not drive and text; post on or check social media; check or respond to email; take pictures; read; or otherwise engage with the phone. Do not adjust electronic devices or navigation systems while driving Do not talk with passengers or talk on the phone while driving Avoid being distracted by children in the back seat Do not drive while fatigued Do not drive after drinking or under any type of influence. Select a designated driver who commits to remaining entirely sober. Plan a safe ride with the use of a taxi, Uber, Lyft or another means to prevent impaired driving. Help loved ones be responsible; do not allow them to drink and drive. Assure all passengers are properly buckled and know the recommendations for children at various stages. (Learn more at www.cdc.gov/features/passengersafety) Stop rushing — your life and the lives of others are more important. Look out for pedestrians, especially in congested or limited-visibility areas, such as shopping centers, grocery stores, parking lots or neighborhoods. Be aware of traffic around you and others who may not be paying attention. Listen and respond accordingly to emergency vehicles (such as fire, EMS and police), safely moving out of their way. Obey Florida's "Move Over" law. Check surroundings, use signals and move as far right as possible when an emergency vehicle is approaching, then stop completely. Avoid stopping parallel to another vehicle, especially on two-lane roads and bridges. Editor's Note: A previous version of this article included just 16 tips and did not distinguish between Florida's Move Over law and the need to check surroundings when emergency vehicles approach.