Online Originals: Holiday travel? Safe tips from Pitt County deputies

GREENVILLE, N.C. (WNCT) – Christmas Eve is a time when people begin rushing home to see loved ones for the holidays. Since this year has looked a little different, we want to make sure you and the people you love are safe in their travels this holiday weekend.

Whether flying, or driving by car, the Pitt County Sheriffs Office has some safe travel tips.

With COVID-19 concerns still prevalent, Sgt. Lee Darnell with the Pitt County Sheriff’s Office said his biggest push is for public health safety. That means wearing your mask around people not in your immediate household, washing your hands, and waiting six feet apart or more from others.

Darnell said the second most important tip is to make sure you and your car are prepared to travel. Getting your car serviced before traveling, making sure your tires have decent tread, stocking up on water, first aid kits, flashlights and jumper cables can help ensure you reach your destination safely.

It’s also important to remember that old stand-bys are still critical to safe traveling. Do not drive distracted (phone, GPS, singing, etc.), Do not drink and drive and do not drive drowsy. Darnell said driving sleepy is just as dangerous as driving intoxicated.

You also need to plan your travel ahead of time. Road laws are different in every state, so while you may know North Carolina roads, if you’re traveling to another state, be looking out for changing road signs and laws.

Another important reason to plan ahead is the weather. Whether traveling a few hours or a few states, weather can be drastically different just two hours away. So check the weather where your heading, and plan accordingly.

Traveling on a plane? Darnell said it’s always a good idea to wipe down seats and anything else someone else may have touched. Wearing your mask in the airport at all times and keeping yourself distanced from others is also important.

Another great tip is if you’re leaving for an extended period of time, ask your post office to stop mail and deliveries to your home while you’re away. Tell a trusted neighbor that you’re leaving so they can keep an eye out for you.

And once you’ve made it to your destination, remember to always be ware of your surroundings. Darnell said criminals know this is the time where people are not as aware, and a time when people have more money on them. So making sure to lock your doors, parking in well-lit areas and hiding valuables under seats or anywhere that makes them less attractive to thieves can help keep your belongings safe this holiday.

Darnell said he and the rest of the deputies in Pitt County wish us all a very Merry Christmas, and they just want us all to stay safe.

2020 has been such a trying year, and it’s almost over, let’s don’t add another tragic moment to this year. Let’s close it out on a positive, celebratory moment in the holidays, and move on to a happier time. Please stay safe out there, we care about you.

Sgt. Lee Darnell, Pitt County Sheriff’s Office

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