The Alabama Law Enforcement Agency is urging motorists and boaters to make safety a top priority during the unofficial kickoff to summer, Memorial Day weekend.
“Memorial Day weekend is a popular time for road trips to the beach, lake or other warm-weather hot spots,” said Hal Taylor, ALEA’s secretary of law enforcement. “With the public’s assistance on Alabama roadways and waterways, we all can have fun, as well as get to and from our destinations safely.”
The official holiday travel period begins Friday and concludes at midnight Monday.
ALEA is assigning all available troopers from its Highway Patrol and Marine Patrol divisions to patrol roadways and bodies of water throughout the state during the four-day period, the agency said.
Although Memorial Day weekend is typically full of activities, COVID-19 remains an active threat. ALEA asks everyone to practice social distancing and leave at least a 6-foot distance between people from different households while visiting beaches, lakes, parks and other public locations.
State health officer Dr. Scott Harris also reminds Alabama residents to follow the health rules and guidelines put in place during the holiday weekend.
“We would just encourage people to remember all the other guidelines that we’ve brought up,” he said. “Gatherings between people who aren’t in the same household of any number are not permitted.”
On the road
Safety remains a top priority for ALEA.
The agency is offering the following safety tips for those traveling on the road during the holiday weekend:
Buckle up, no matter how short the trip.
Do not drive under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs. Make sure you select a designated driver in advance or plan to use a ride-share service.
Do not drive while distracted.
Mind your speed.
Expect traffic congestion, especially along popular routes to the beach or lake.
On the water
ALEA also is offering the following safety tips for those traveling on a body of water:
Make it a habit each time to check the boat’s safety equipment before leaving.
Do not boat under the influence of alcohol/drugs. Make sure you select a designated driver beforehand.
Have a personal flotation device on board for each person on the boat. Children age 7 and younger must wear PFDs at all times.
Be courteous and cautious. Make sure you know the rules of the water, including what to do in a head-to-head meeting, who has the right of way and other regulations.
When boating at night, makes sure required navigation lights are on and in good working condition. Operate at slower speeds and don’t venture into unfamiliar territory.
Give other boaters plenty of room. Do not operate too close to private docks or the shoreline; give skiers and swimmers a wide berth.
Never overload a vessel.