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Holiday-themed highway signs take aim at reckless driving in New Jersey

Digital Brief: November 27, 2023 (AM)
Digital Brief: November 27, 2023 (AM) 02:28

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) -- It might be the most wonderful time of the year, but it's also one of the busiest on roadways across the Delaware Valley.

And if you're among the throngs of drivers hitting the road for groceries, gifts and holiday gatherings, the New Jersey Department of Transportation has a few friendly reminders.

A series of seasonal digital signage along I-295 is urging motorists to take it slow.

One sign declares that "Reckless drivers are worse than fruitcake." Another invokes the spirit of Santa Claus himself: "Ho ho ho. Please drive slow."

Regardless of how you feel about fruitcake, there's no doubt highways and interstates are more congested in these last few weeks of the year.

Back on Nov. 13, AAA projected 55.4 million travelers would travel 50 miles or more from home over the Thanksgiving holiday, about 2.3% more than in 2022.

I-295 holiday signs in New Jersey
I-295 holiday-themed traffic sign in New Jersey

Across the river, the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation's Operation Safe Holiday campaign is already well underway. Now through the New Year's holiday, PennDOT says officers will conduct sobriety checkpoints, roving patrols and regular traffic safety patrols to crack down on and prevent impaired driving.

Earlier this month, the agency said that during the 2022 holiday season, there were 1,111 alcohol-related crashes, resulting in 41 fatalities and 661 suspected serious injuries between the Wednesday before Thanksgiving and Jan. 2. Throughout that time, there were 44 fatal drug-related crashes and 287 that led to serious injuries.

And while AAA hasn't released its projections for Christmas travel just yet, PennDOT wants drivers to keep these winter driving tips in mind as temperatures start to drop:

  • Give yourself plenty of time to get to your destination.
  • Carry a winter emergency kit.
  • Listen to travel and weather advisories. If you don't have to travel in bad weather, don't!
  • Slow down and increase following distance and avoid sudden stops and starts.
  • Don't use cruise control on snow-covered roads.
  • Make sure someone knows where you're going and when you expect to arrive at your destination.
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