Help keep tree green

Published 9:05 pm Tuesday, December 3, 2019

It looks just about like thousands of other Christmas trees decorating the homes of Suffolk residents this Christmas season.

This one beautifully shaped fir tree adorned with lights, however, stands outside in front of the Suffolk Elks Lodge on West Constance Road. It will light the way to safe driving all December long.

The Safety Tree holiday tradition sponsored by the Pilot Club of Suffolk has been going on for more than 40 years now. This symbolic tree honors life, just as the Christmas trees in our home celebrate the beginning of the life of Jesus Christ all those years ago.

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The Safety Tree is lit with green bulbs at the beginning of December. In the event there is a fatal crash on Suffolk’s roads during this final month of the year, one of those green bulbs will be replaced with a red bulb. The goal is to keep the tree green all month long.

Why focus on traffic safety during December? Of course, traffic safety is important all year long. But it does deserve special emphasis during December. The nights are longer, which means more of the miles driven happen at night. More people are rushing to and from stores and parties and loved ones’ houses as they prepare for and celebrate the many holidays that happen during December. Statistics show that there are more people driving drunk during December, and we’d be willing to bet there is more distracted driving, as well.

National traffic statistics show that while car accidents overall are typically down during the winter months, Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, as well as New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day, are some of the most dangerous days of the year on the road.

You can help keep that tree green by wearing your seatbelt, being patient, not driving distracted and not driving under the influence.

To help with that last item, AAA Tidewater is offering its Tipsy Tow service all season long, through 6 a.m. on Jan. 1. The service is available to anyone, whether they are a AAA member or not, and is provided in the Greater Hampton Roads area. The AAA tow truck will take the vehicle and the driver home. Those in need of this service should call 1-800-AAA-HELP and tell the dispatcher “I need a Tipsy Tow.” The service excludes rides for passengers, and the destination is limited to the driver’s residence.