Safety precautions are essential for holiday travel

Published 5:00 pm Friday, December 24, 2021

The Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles’ (DMV) full-service customer service centers will be closed for the Christmas and New Year’s holidays from Thursday, Dec. 23 through Saturday, Dec. 25, and Friday, Dec, 31 through Saturday, Jan. 1, 2022.

With extra motorists on the road during the holidays, DMV urges drivers to use caution. Last year between Christmas Eve and New Year’s Day, there were 2,253 crashes in Virginia which resulted in 1,005 injuries and 21 fatalities.

“Being a responsible driver should be a priority every time you get behind the wheel, not just during the holidays,” said DMV Commissioner Richard D. Holcomb, the Governor’s Highway Safety Representative. “It is up to us to keep each other safe on the Commonwealth’s roads. Slow down, buckle up, pay attention and drive sober.”

Here are some safe driving reminders ahead of the holidays: Prepare before you go — make sure your car is safe for winter driving; check the oil, put air in the tires and pack an emergency kit. Drive distraction free — many distractions exist while driving, but cell phones are a top distraction; put it away and just drive. Slow down — do not exceed the speed limit and keep a safe distance between you and other vehicles. Move over — drivers are required to move over one lane if passing stopped vehicles with flashing amber, red or blue lights. Designate a sober driver — do not get behind the wheel while under the influence of alcohol or drugs; arrange an alternative mode of transportation. Buckle up — make sure every person in the vehicle is property restrained, including having the appropriate car seats installed correctly for children.

More than 50 DMV services will be available online at dmvNOW.com or through the mail during the winter holiday closures. DMV’s 75 customer service centers continue to operate by appointment only on Monday and Friday and by walk-in service only on Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and Saturday (in offices with Saturday hours). In October, DMV began offering a hybrid service model on alternating days to offer flexibility for customers.