Richland Public Health urges to shop safely this holiday season


The traditional holiday shopping season kicks off on Nov. 27 and extends through Christmas Eve. That means increased traffic in the Ontario shopping areas on Lexington-Springmill Road extending from Park Avenue West to Walker Lake Road.

Ontario Police Department Chief Rodney Smith, a partner with the Richland County Safe Communities Coalition, knows that drivers need to be especially aware of the changes required to get through the season with the fewest problems possible.

“The first thing that is required is patience,” Chief Smith says. “We will have a much higher volume of traffic during the holidays and that calls for being able to handle stop and go traffic, multiple turning lanes and decisions about when to pull into the traffic flow from parking lots.”

“Take things slowly and show courtesy to other drivers,” he advises. “Don’t try to get through lights when they turn yellow or you may get stuck in the intersection and block traffic for everyone.”

Traffic can get more complicated when winter weather gets thrown into the mix. “If it’s wet, snowing or icy, drivers need to allow more stopping distance between their car and the car ahead of them,” reminds Chief Smith.

Things can get particularly dicey for someone driving impaired, Chief Smith notes. “If you aren’t able to react quickly or make poor decisions because of your impairment, you are at a much greater risk of having a crash. Getting arrested for driving impaired would be a terrible way to celebrate the holiday season.”

“This time of year we see a lot more thefts from cars,” Smith notes. “Don’t put your packages on your car seats if you are stopping somewhere else before heading home. Lock your packages in your truck or make sure they are out of sight. Same goes with your purse or cell phones. Objects left in plain sight are a temptation and make it easy for criminals to ruin your holiday.”

Drive cautiously and patiently and don’t become a target for car theft this holiday season.

Chief Smith offers basic rules for all drivers:

Wear your seat belt.

Don’t be distracted by your cell phones. Remember, it’s against the law to text while driving.

Slow down and stay alert for the unexpected. Drive defensively.

Watch for pedestrians in parking lots and be especially aware of children.

Don’t wreck the holidays by driving impaired. Buzzed Driving is Drunk Driving.

Chief Smith also adds a note of caution about those looking to take advantage of your shopping enjoyment.

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