Highways are deadly leading up to Thanksgiving holiday
MORGAN CITY, La. -- With five fatal crashes in five days, State Police Troop I region has seen more than its fair share of accidents this week. While none were in the Tri-City area, troopers are nonetheless reminding motorists to drive safely this holiday season.
The most recent occurred Wednesday on La. 697 at La. 3083 in St. Martin Parish which took the life of Jeramie Vicknair of Vatican.
At 11:15 a.m. Wednesday, Bernard Williams, 45, of Scott was driving a 1998 Freightliner tractor pulling a mobile home north on La. 697 where he was preparing to turn right onto La. 3083. His passenger, Vicknair, attempted to exit the vehicle to position himself so he could direct Williams prior to turning. As Vicknair was exiting the vehicle, he lost his balance, fell and was struck by the vehicle. Vicknair was pronounced dead by the St. Martin Parish coroner.
Toxicology samples were obtained from Williams and Vicknair. They will be submitted to the Louisiana State Police Crime Lab for analysis. This crash remains under investigation.
With the Thanksgiving holiday weekend at hand, police are reminding drivers to exercise caution as they travel to and from their destinations. Their advice includes urging motorists to reduce distractions, buckle up and designate a driver.
“Thanksgiving is a special holiday that gives us an opportunity to reflect on our many blessings,” said Col. Mike Edmonson, State Police superintendent.
“Unfortunately, we often see an increase in the number of crashes due to an increased number of cars on the road as people travel for the holidays. Wearing a seatbelt while traveling is the single most effective thing you can do to reduce the likelihood of being injured if you or your family are involved in a crash. Buckle up and travel safe,” Edmonson said.
The holidays can bring out the best in people. Unfortunately when it comes to holiday travel, it can also bring out the worst, he said.
He cited as examples drivers who yield, letting you advance ahead of them or shoppers who direct you to a parking space they are about to vacate.
On the other hand, drivers can be aggressive due to the additional pressure that the holidays bring, he said. There is more temptation to speed, push through yellow lights and run a red light, he said. Drivers may cut you off, take your intended parking spot and weave in and out of traffic, he said.
Edmonson said motorists should drive defensively this holiday season, not aggressively. By driving defensively, you can significantly decrease your chance of being involved in a motor vehicle crash, he said.
State Police tips to make your commute safer this holiday season include:
—Make sure you maintain a safe following distance when behind vehicles and reduce your speed, especially during inclement weather conditions. By reducing your speed, you will decrease your stopping distance and allow more time to react to sudden stops.
—Always pre-plan your route if possible to avoid the added frustration of getting lost.
—Make sure your vehicle is in good condition prior to leaving for your destination. This will reduce the chance of car trouble and keep you and your family from being stranded.
—If you do encounter dangerous weather, think about finding a safe location to stop and get off of the roadway. We would rather you make it there safely than not at all.
—If you encounter an aggressive or frustrated driver, simply put your pride in the back seat and let them by. Don’t challenge them. It will only make the roadway more dangerous for everyone.
—Never text and drive. It is dangerous as well as being illegal in Louisiana to do so while behind the wheel.
Thirteen fatal crashes in the state have been investigated by the State Police since Friday. Many of these crashes involved unrestrained motorists and driver impairment.
Motorists are encouraged to report aggressive or impaired drivers by dialing *LSP (*577) on their cellular phone or to contact their local law enforcement agency.