“Drive safely and have a good Christmas.”
That is the message from the county’s roads policing team, who will work throughout the festive period.
Roads policing sergeant Ian Manley first joined the service 16 years ago, and reckons he can count “one the fingers of one hand” how many times he has had Christmas Day off since then.
But it is all part of the job in keeping our roads safe.
He told the Gazette: “Christmas Day and New Year’s Eve are two of the busiest daysof the year on the roads. That is partly because of the number of parties people go to – and unfortunately some people do drive after drinking or taking drugs.
“The whole festive period can be busy with the number of people travelling to see family and friends, and after Christmas you have people heading to the sales too, so it can all be busier than you might imagine.”
While it might go without saying, Christmas time is also wintertime, and that can mean challenging driving conditions.
Sergeatant Manley was keen to remind people to drive appropriately.
He said: “In the last couple of weeks we’ve had snow, followed by cold temperatures which have meant that any water on the ground can turn to ice overnight.
“Just because the snow has gone, driving conditions can still be challenging.The speed limit is just that – a limit, not a target – and when there’s ice or snow it’s important to leave more space between you and the car in front.”
But Sgt Manley says there is a genuine camaraderie both within the police and across all the emergency services when they are working over the holidays.
He said: “We want to get people safely to where they’re going, so sometimes that means going above and beyond the call of duty. We just want everyone to have a safe, merry Christmas.”