ALBANY, NY (11/27/2013)(readMedia)-- With the arrival of Thanksgiving, New York State Department of Transportation (NYSDOT) Commissioner Joan McDonald today joined with State Farm to encourage motorists to do their part in keeping safe during holiday travel by preparing for traffic delays, avoiding distractions, and driving safely to and from their holiday destinations. NYSDOT's Highway Emergency Local Patrol (HELP) service, sponsored by State Farm, will be on the roads during peak travel times to keep traffic flowing and enhance safety on some of New York State's most heavily traveled roads.
"This week begins the holiday season and with more travelers on the road and the potential for winter storms, it is important that motorists use caution," Commissioner McDonald said. "The HELP program is an integral tool in keeping roads safe during peak travel periods."
The HELP program focuses on major roadways in New York City, Long Island, the Hudson Valley, Albany, Rochester and Buffalo to provide free, limited roadside assistance to drivers in need. HELP truck drivers also assist in contacting other first responders, clearing debris or managing traffic congestion due to crashes. Getting disabled vehicles back on the roads reduces congestion and improves safety during rush hours by removing a distraction that can cause traffic backups and accidents.
"From distracted drivers to speedy drivers, State Farm knows there are many risks facing motorists during the high-traffic holiday weekend," said State Farm Vice President-Agency Joe Spicer. "During the holiday season and every day, the HELP Program demonstrates our good neighbor commitment by helping people manage the risks of everyday life and recover from the unexpected."
The HELP program assisted more than 46,000 disabled motorists across the State during the first three quarters of 2013. Last year, the patrol responded to more than 4,500 incidents in the month of December alone.
The HELP program consists of more than 100 vehicles, 88 of which are sponsored by State Farm. HELP trucks cover 730 miles of roadway in New York State, assisting motorists during peak traffic hours Monday through Friday. The free service provides a range of assistance, including changing flat tires, fixing minor mechanical problems, and providing fuel. HELP truck drivers will also call a towing service if a quick repair can't immediately be made at the scene.
State Farm signed on as the official HELP program sponsor in 2009 and is a proud supporter of similar programs in nine other states.
Commissioner McDonald also reminded motorists to use New York State's free 511NY system before traveling by calling 511 or visiting www.511NY.org. The phone and web services provide travelers with up-to-the-minute traffic conditions and links to information about air, rail and transit services.
It is the mission of the New York State Department of Transportation to ensure our customers - those who live, work and travel in New York State -- have a safe, efficient, balanced and environmentally sound transportation system. NYSDOT is responsible for coordinating and developing comprehensive transportation policy for the State, as well as coordinating and assisting in the development and operation of transportation facilities and services for highways, railroads, mass transit systems, ports, waterways and aviation facilities.
About State Farm®:
State Farm and its affiliates are the largest provider of car insurance in the U.S. and is a leading insurer in Canada. In addition to providing auto insurance quotes, their 18,000 agents and more than 65,000 employees serve 81 million policies and accounts – more than 79 million auto, home, life and health policies in the United States and Canada, and nearly 2 million bank accounts. Commercial auto insurance, along with coverage for renters, business owners, boats and motorcycles, is also available. State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Company is the parent of the State Farm family of companies. State Farm is ranked No. 44 on the Fortune 500 list of largest companies. For more information, please visit http://www.statefarm.com or in Canada http://www.statefarm.ca.