Check your tread, reduce distractions, take it slow and make it a #SaferWinterKY

With the help of employees and a friend from the North Pole, the Kentucky Department of Highways is urging motorists to make it a “Safer Winter” this holiday season.

Each year, highway crews stockpile salt and get snow plows ready for winter. And, now that winter has arrived, motorists can prepare, too, by ensuring their vehicles are ready and by practicing safe driving habits.

Debuting this week, the #SaferWinterKY social media campaign will feature a variety of photos and graphics with those messages, including some with hair-challenged crew members challenging drivers to replace their bald tires.

“We’re going to ask, which is balder, me or your tires? And we’ll show you how to check your tread,” said Allen Blair, Highway District 9’s information officer, who – when not wearing his work hat – sports a mostly hairless head.

Tire failures and defective brakes were the top vehicle factors in winter crashes last year – contributing to more than 2,000 crashes, according to the Kentucky State Police.

“Bald tires or bad brakes increase the risk of sliding off the road, losing control or otherwise endangering yourself and other drivers in snowy weather,” Blair said. “That’s why we want to emphasize proper tread and good brakes during this campaign.”

Then, beginning Christmas Eve, Santa Claus will join forces with employees’ voices on Facebook and Twitter – offering words of winter driving wisdom, especially about not texting while driving, taking it slow when it snows, and other factors in roadway crashes.

Last year, driver inattention, driving too fast for conditions, vehicle not under control and failure to yield contributed to more than half – 58 percent – of all crashes in Kentucky, according to the KSP.

In addition, more than 1,100 crashes occurred and 16 people died during the 2014 Christmas season – the highest rates of any Christmas season since 2010, and the deadliest holiday last year.

“We want everyone to listen to what ‘Santa Says’ and drive safely, especially this holiday season,” Blair said. “By checking our tire tread and remembering to put the phone down and practicing safe-driving techniques at all times, we can make this winter a safer winter in Kentucky.”

To join in the #SaferWinterKY campaign, the media and the public can follow Kentucky Department of Highways District 9 on Facebook at and Twitter at, and share driving tips posted there. Or, write your own winter safety message on social media using the #SaferWinterKY hashtag.

The Kentucky Department of Highways campaign will continue throughout the winter months.

Find more information about District 9 online at Navigate traffic with KYTC,, and Waze,!

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Social media campaign features winter safety messages