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Officials encourage safe driving for Thanksgiving travel
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 KanDrive reveals a new design

The busiest travel season of the year is here and the Kansas Department of Transportation has an updated tool, to make travel plans easier. The redesigned KanDrive is a one stop portal for road information on Kansas highways. 

“This redesign is focused on making the user experience simpler than before,” KDOT Chief of Transportation Planning Mike Moriarty said. “Everything that was great abot the old site is still there. But now the page is smart phone friendly, which was a big request from users.”

While it is not specifically a smart phone app, it does have the ability to work on most smart phone browsers and can be book marked to your home screen for easy access. 

“We’d like to encourage users to try it before leaving home and not to use it while driving,” Moriarty said. “A significant amount of time and effort has gone into the process of developing this site and we are confident you will be pleased with KanDrive’s user friendliness and overall functionality.” 

 Thanksgiving Day is one of the busiest travel days of the year. With increased traffic, the Kansas Highway Patrol, the Kansas Turnpike Authority and the Kansas Department of Transportation focus on multiple safety measures for travelers. These organizations encourage drivers to take the following tips into consideration:

• Check your vehicle’s condition: tire tread and pressure, fluid levels and mechanical equipment.

• Have an emergency kit, including bottled water, blankets, non-perishable food, chargers and a flashlight with batteries.

• Allow plenty of time to arrive at your destination. 

• Check road conditions before you travel by calling 511 or visiting, particularly in the instance of inclement weather.

• Buzzed driving is drunk driving. Have a designated driver for the ride home.

• Buckle up. Every trip. Every time.

Travelers who experience a roadside emergency, can dial *47 for the Kansas Highway Patrol or *582 while on the Kansas Turnpike and someone will be sent to assist.

Travelers using the Kansas Turnpike are also reminded that they can save on tolls by using a K-TAG or a PIKEPASS.

Law enforcement agencies across the state will be putting additional officers on the road during the holiday travel period. A grant from KDOT underwrites the Thanksgiving STEP (Special Traffic Enforcement Program) campaign from Monday, Nov. 23, through Sunday, Nov. 29. KHP personnel and local law enforcement will work overtime enforcements focused on combatting impaired driving and enforcing seat belt and child passenger safety laws. 

What about younger travelers?

There are also safety considerations for children.

“With the dramatic increase of travelers over the holiday season, getting to your holiday destination can be a harried experience,” said Cherie Sage, Safe Kids Kansas. “A little advance planning can go a long way into making your holiday a safe one.” 

Top tips for winter travel safety:

• Check for Childproofing: If your holiday travels include a stay at a relative or friend’s home, be sure to talk to your host in advance about basic childproofing. This is especially important if you are visiting people whose children have already grown or those without children. Keep pill-minders and other medications out of sight and out of reach of children. Keep purses and baggage off the floor where curious children can get into items that may be toxic or cause injuries.

• Travel Tips by Road:  Always use a car seat or booster seat that is appropriate for your child’s age and size. Babies should be kept rear-facing for as long as their car seat allows, approximately age 2. A forward-facing car seat can protect older toddlers and harnesses should be used up to the weight and height limit indicated by the car seat manufacturer. Children who have outgrown a harness seat should use a booster seat until they meet the minimum requirements of Kansas law, or the laws of the state you are visiting. For more information about the Kansas booster seat law, visit Older children and adults must also buckle up on every ride. 

• Travel Tips by Air:  When traveling by airplane, Safe Kids Kansas and the Federal Aviation Administration strongly recommend using a car seat. Infants and toddlers are safest in an approved car seat with a harness, in case of turbulence. Make sure your child’s car seat is labeled “certified for use in motor vehicles and aircraft.” Children who have outgrown their harness car seats should sit directly on the airplane seat like all other passengers, keeping the lap belt buckled snugly across their thighs. Booster seats cannot be used on airplanes, because they require shoulder belts and airplane seats have only lap belts. Boosters can be checked with other luggage, or at the gate, so you have them handy at your destination.

• BYO Safety Gear:  If your children will be biking, skating, skateboarding, skiing or snowboarding, make sure to pack their helmet. Dress children in layers and take breaks to stay hydrated.

Sleep Safely on the Go: If you have a baby and the trip involves staying overnight, consider bringing your own folding playpen, rather than relying on borrowed cribs. A survey conducted by Safe Kids Worldwide found many hotel-issued cribs to be defective, damaged or even recalled from the market. And know that the old crib at Grandma’s that was used when you were a child may not meet current safety standards or may even be recalled. If you must use a borrowed crib, inspect it carefully for broken or missing parts and look up the model on to make sure it isn’t subject to any safety notices.