Christopher Richardson with the traffic division of the APD offered advise Friday to those driving through the final days of the Christmas season, especially around the Albany Mall. The most important things to remember are to stay focused and be patient, Richardson said. (Staff Photo: Jim West)
ALBANY — If you’ve made it through Christmas without a fender bender — or worse — then congratulations are in order, but traffic near the mall is still a nightmare.
Patrolman Christopher Richardson with the traffic control division of the Albany Police Department offers thoughts toward continued survival.
“Have patience on the roadway,” Richardson said. “Everyone’s minds are somewhere else right now. A distracted mind is a terrible thing behind the wheel of a car.”
Richardson pointed out that the Albany Mall area is a hub for out of town shoppers this time of year, with many of them unfamiliar with how to get around. The key to getting through the day unscathed is have patience and to avoid distractions such as music or even involved conversations with your passengers, Richardson said.
“You need to be careful on the roadway, period,” Richardson said. “You don’t need the distractions. You need to be focused on what you’re doing and where you’re going at all times.”
Richardson advises motorists who encounter vehicles moving erratically or too slow or fast, to just fall back and yield the roadway. That’s the best way to avoid a potential accident with that vehicle, Richardson said.
“I can tell when I’ve pulled up to a wreck whether the person driving had been distracted and whether speed was involved,” Richardson said. “I can tell you that speed and distracted driving cause the majority of the wrecks we have in this town. Just slow down and pay attention.”
Traffic control has been out in force since before Christmas, Richardson said, and with the year’s strongest night of social drinking coming up Tuesday, the cross hairs of the APD are set for drivers under the influence.
“We’ll be all over town looking for the drinking drivers,” Richardson said. “If you are drinking and driving you will be pulled over and you will go to jail.”
Richardson said the APD works closely with the Governor’s Office of Highway Safety in the implementation of its policy of zero tolerance for drivers over the .08 blood alcohol limit and its Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over, program. According to Richardson, in addition to spending at least one night in jail, offenders could lose their driving privileges and be required to pay a large fine.