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For Immediate Release: June 29, 2012

Celebrating Safety: Fourth of July on the Thruway
Plan Ahead for the Holiday

As the nation celebrates its 236th birthday, the New York State Thruway Authority reminds motorists to plan ahead, drive with care, hang up their cell phones, wear their seat belts, and allow plenty of extra time for enjoyable travel.

“This is the time of year for end of school activities, summer vacations, Fourth of July celebrations and hot weather which brings extra traffic to the Thruway,” said Thruway Authority Executive Director Thomas J. Madison. “I encourage all Thruway motorists to make safety a part of their vacations plans.”

In 2011, more than 2.57 million vehicles traveled more than 90 million miles on the Thruway over the Fourth of July holiday period (Friday to Monday).

Throughout the Fourth of July holiday, State Police Troop T, which exclusively patrols the Thruway, will be out in full force aiding motorists and enforcing traffic law. The Thruway Authority and State Police remind all travelers to buckle up and properly secure children under age 4 in a child safety seat. Troop T will be specifically looking for motorists creating hazardous driving conditions, including driving while intoxicated and speeding.

Before heading out to your destination, motorists are encouraged to sign up for E-ZPass and enjoy the most convenient way to pay tolls, reduce congestion, and reduce travel time. The Thruway Authority offers all types of discount plans. For additional information, please go to http://www.thruway.ny.gov/ezpass/discount.html .

Drivers heading south on the Thruway with an E-ZPass will be able to take advantage of the Highway Speed E-ZPass lanes at the Woodbury Toll Barrier. The Highway Speed E-ZPass lanes allow customers traveling at the 65 mile per hour speed limit to safely separate themselves from the toll plaza lanes while electronically paying their toll.  E-ZPass dedicated lanes will be available on most of the Thruway toll plazas to ease traffic congestion.

Motorists and their families should know that all travel plazas along the Thruway will be providing services for the Fourth of July holiday. For a complete listing of travel plazas along the Thruway, and services and amenities offered to motorists, please visit the Thruway Authority’s website at http://www.thruway.ny.gov/travelers/travelplazas/index.html .

The American Automobile Association encourages all motorists to keep their vehicles well maintained and in good working order. This will help motorists reduce their chances of becoming stranded; improve safety of their road trip and even save a little money.

Madison encourages motorists to practice the Thruway Authority’s list of Safety Tips:

  • Inspect all FIVE tires
  • Check and clean car battery
  • Replace wiper blades and refill washer fluid
  • Turn on your lights
  • Buckle up
  • Don’t drink and drive
  • Don’t speed
  • Don’t drive drowsy
  • Pack a first aid kit and roadside assistance kit
  • Practice defensive driving, not aggressive driving
  • Remain alert
  • New York State Law requires motorists to “Move Over” whenever possible or slow down when passing stopped emergency vehicles or vehicles displaying flashing amber lights, including maintenance vehicles or tow trucks.

Be mindful of possible construction areas along the Thruway. During the holiday period, the Thruway Authority usually suspends construction each year for the Fourth of July holiday except possibly permanent construction zones. Go to http://www.thruway.ny.gov/travelers/laneclosures/index.html and find out more about lane closures. While driving through construction zones, remember to remain cautious, alert and cognizant of posted work zone speed limits.

Should major delays occur, motorists will be advised through electric Variable Message Signs along the roadway, TRANSalerts, and the Thruway’s Highway Advisory Radio. The HAR stations broadcast traffic advisories, road conditions, and safety tips to travelers 24 hours a day. For additional information on the HAR stations, please go to http://www.thruway.ny.gov/travelers/har/index.html .

TRANSalerts are free notices sent to subscribers automatically via email or text messaging, informing them of major unscheduled incidents that may affect their travel on the Thruway. Since the system’s inception in August 2006, more than 10,000 subscribers have signed up to receive TRANSalert notifications. Motorists may subscribe to the TRANSalert service at the Thruway Authority’s website at http://www.thruway.ny.gov/tas/index.shtml .

By using the Thruway Authority’s interactive mapping interface on its website, motorists may also check on current, up-to-the-minute traffic incidents and access cameras along various sections of the Thruway system. There are currently more than 150 operating traffic cameras. Customers can access those cameras by visiting the Thruway Authority’s website at http://www.thruway.ny.gov/travelers/map/index.html?layer=cameras .

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