Friday, May 27, 2011
Last summer, Jennifer Weast got a flat tire on a busy stretch of the turnpike.
"I was worried about getting rear ended. I was really afraid somebody was going to come up behind me 'cause I didn't know if I had pulled off far enough. It was scary," said Weast.
She is one of thousands of stranded drivers who have benefited from the Turnpike's State Farm Safety Assist Program. It gives drivers help for free on the turnpike, by dialing *K-T-A or *5-8-2. The program lasts from Memorial Day until Labor Day.
"It's just very comforting to know that there are people and companies and the state are out there looking out for us," said Roger Weast, wife benefited from program.
The launch of the program was also part of a safety exhibit in time for the holiday weekend. A crowd saw a rollover simulation demonstrating how in a matter of seconds a driver can be thrown from the vehicle without a seat belt.
"In Kansas overall with the fatalities, 70 percent of the people that die are unrestrained, so seat belt usage factors into it," said Trooper Gary Warner, Kansas Highway Patrol.
Others got professional advice to make sure their child's seats are safe on the road. Another group tried to walk a straight line wearing goggles simulating being intoxicated.
"A lot of people are going out to the lake and celebrating. We want people to have a fun weekend, but that means an accident-free weekend," said Lt. Phil Bostian, Kansas Highway Patrol.
With an estimated 31 million Americans expected to be on the roads this weekend, troopers are reminding drivers to buckle up.
"Always wear the seatbelt. You never know when a crash is going to happen, so you have to be prepared every single time you sit down in the vehicle," said Bostian.