Police warn drivers to be cautious during New Year's holiday

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PARKERSBURG, W.Va. (WTAP) - It's the only time of the year when one holiday weekend immediately follows another.

Courtesy: MGN

This year, like Christmas, the New Year's holiday weekend lasts four days.

But that's one of the few things the two weekends have in common.

"On New Year's Eve, there's typically more celebrating going on than at Christmas." says Lt. Chris Chesar, of the Marietta post of the Ohio State Highway Patrol, "there's more of a party than families getting together. So it is a concern, and we'll have officers going out looking for the impaired driver."

But like other weekends where travel is involved, so is making sure your vehicle is ready to handle the lengthy trips on the roadways. That means preparing for breakdowns and other auto emergencies.

"You want to keep in mind when you're planning ahead, what's the worst possible scenario in terms of being stranded along the side of the road," says AAA Spokesman Jim Garrity. "That may mean sitting for a few hours with kids in the back seat. So you might want to imagine those sorts of situations, and prepare for them."

While law enforcement agencies may be on the lookout for disabled motorists, it's the impaired driver they'll be on the watch for as well. And the way to avoid accidents, they say, is simple.

"Make arrangements to have a designated driver, or some type of transportation," says Harrison County Sheriff Robert Matheny, "whether it's a taxicab or Uber, whatever is available to them in their area."

Lt. Chesar adds, "And that the designated driver is not impaired. And make sure you wear your seat belts as well."

Nine people died in Ohio accidents during the Christmas holiday weekend. None of those fatalities were from the area the Marietta post serves, which includes Washington and Morgan counties.