Office parties, family gatherings, and school programs mark a busy holiday season. Listening to Christmas carols is commonplace as people work, wrap presents, and bake cookies.

Office parties, family gatherings, and school programs mark a busy holiday season. Listening to Christmas carols is commonplace as people work, wrap presents, and bake cookies. These are sounds everyone wants to hear during the holidays. Unfortunately, other sounds, like breaking glass, crunching metal, and calls for assistance, are heard all too often ... no matter what season it is. The Missouri State Highway Patrol asks motorists to make safety a priority this Christmas season.

Last year during the 108-hour Christmas counting period, there were 1,155 traffic crashes. In those crashes, 11 people were killed and another 421 were injured. During the 2018 Christmas holiday, troopers arrested 106 people for driving while impaired.

"A traffic crash can't be undone," said Colonel Eric T. Olson, superintendent of the Missouri State Highway Patrol. "Please be a safe, courteous driver this holiday season."

Every driver can help make our roadways safer this holiday season. Obey all traffic laws, drive sober, and pay attention every time you get behind the wheel. Make sure you are well rested and your vehicle is in good working condition before driving to your destination, no matter how short the distance. Keep an eye on the weather, and allow extra driving time. The Road Condition Report number is 1-888-275-6636.

The 2019 Christmas holiday counting period begins at 6 p.m. on Tuesday, December 24, 2019, and ends at 11:59 p.m. Wednesday, December 25, 2019.

If faced with a traffic emergency, motorists can contact the Missouri State Highway Patrol at 1-800-525-5555 or *55 on a cellular phone. This emergency number will ring into the nearest Highway Patrol headquarters. Motorists should use this number if they are in a traffic crash, witness a crash or crime, or observe a stranded motorist in need of assistance, or other traffic emergencies.

“If your plans include alcohol, designate a sober driver," said Col. Olson. "On behalf of the Missouri State Highway Patrol, I want to wish everyone a safe, merry Christmas!”

Too many people die in traffic crashes each year in Missouri. The choices you make when you’re behind the wheel matter. Make good choices, so you’ll never have to say, “If I could just go back.”

Follow the Missouri State Highway Patrol on Twitter @MSHPTrooperGHQ

There’s no place like home for the holidays. Please, plan ahead, pay attention, and arrive safely.