The Connecticut State Police would like to pass along some valuable advice as we head into the holidays over the next couple of days.

Many of us are of the mindset that it will never happen to us. It could happen when you least expect it or even when you think you're "okay to drive." You glance in your rearview mirror and you see those flashing police cruiser lights and all of a sudden you know you could be in big trouble.

According to the Connecticut State Police, troopers will be out in force trying to keep you safe and alive. Starting on Friday, December 20 through Wednesday, January 1, extra Troopers will be out on patrol doing their best to keep Connecticut roads safe. As a courtesy to you, the Connecticut State Police have printed out a list of patrol locations and DUI checkpoints. Here's where they say they'll be:

CATHLEEN HINSCH

In preparation for the holidays, the CT State Police ask all motor vehicle operators to plan ahead before heading to a party or to a retail destination. Thousands will take to the major interstates in Connecticut, so it’s vital that motorists follow traffic laws to prevent collisions and injuries.

With that, here are a number of tips directly from the CSP:

  • Drive the speed limit.
  • Keep a safe distance between your vehicle and the one in front of you.
  • Ensure that all passengers are wearing seatbelts.
  • Signal when turning, changing lanes or taking an exit.
  • Refrain from texting or using your phone.
  • Never consume alcoholic beverages or drugs, including those legally prescribed, before you get behind the wheel.
  • Immediately reduce speed to a reasonable level below the posted speed limit or move over one lane (whenever safe to do so) whenever law enforcement, fire trucks, ambulances or tow trucks are occupying a lane. Please give them room to do their job efficiently and safely.

Drivers are also reminded to plan their trips with care:

  • Fill the gas tank prior to your journey.
  • Check windshield wipers, windshield wiper fluid and tire pressure.
  • Fully charge your cell phone.
  • Carry winter blankets, drinking water and snacks.
  • Check traffic and weather conditions before leaving home.
  • Keep a shovel and sand or salt in the trunk of your vehicle.

“Weather conditions can change at any time during the winter. We ask you to please heed any weather precautions prior to leaving for your destination. The safety of yourself, your family and others on the road should remain your top priority,” noted Colonel Stavros Mellekas, Commanding Officer of the Connecticut State Police. “While on patrol, Troopers will focus on distracted driving and those who may be operating under the influence. Please, be our partners in safety by following state laws on the road.”

If you are pulled over and are charged with a DUI (Driving Under the Influence) and it's your first offense, you could potentially get 6 months in prison and up to $1,000 in fines, not to mention expensive attorney fees and all the other associated costs to the DMV, DUI classes, etc. I've heard of DUI cases that cost first offenders over $10,000, all because of a bad decision.

You want to party over this holiday weekend? The solution is simple, spend the money and call a Lyft or an Uber.

In a statement, Colonel Stavros Mellekas, commanding officer of the State Police, said, “We rely on the motoring public to obey all traffic laws and to be an extra set of eyes and ears on Connecticut roads. During this very busy long holiday weekend, please take the time to arrive at your destination safely. Check traffic and weather reports before you leave home and be patient as the roads will be filled with other drivers.”

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