Nearly 600 people who started 2018 with the rest of us are no longer with us.

Every week, CDOT displays the current traffic fatalities so far this year in the state. Heading into this week, the number stands at 561 lives lost on Colorado roads.

The fatality reminder is intended to motivate Colorado drivers to drive carefully and safely, to buckle up, and to not drink and drive. Thinking about traffic fatalities is not a pleasant thought here during the holiday season, but a few unpleasant thoughts could save a life or two.

The fact is, there are Colorado families who will be grieving on Christmas morning because of loved ones who were tragically killed in an accident. These are families just like yours and mine who are, at this moment, planning to spend Christmas together with loved ones - but, for some, those plans are about to change.

We never know who, or when, or where the next Colorado traffic fatality will occur, but, as sure as the sun is coming up tomorrow morning, there will be several more traffic fatalities before we close the chapter on 2019. Please don't let the next one be you!

Sometimes, fatal accidents cannot be avoided. but all of us can take steps to reduce the chances of it happening. There are things we can control.

Don't drink and drive this holiday season is the big one. With holiday parties galore, there will be plenty of opportunities for people to drive while impaired. Don't be one of those people. Be sure and have a designated driver, ask a friend to take you home, or call a cab. It's not about getting caught, it's about saving a life.

Most of us are in the habit of buckling up, but for those that aren't, it's still a good habit to get into. Wearing a seatbelt could save your life and/or reduce the seriousness of injuries you might incur in an accident.

Be aware of road conditions, whether you are traveling the I-70 corridor, or heading across U.S. 50 to Delta and on up to Cedaredge. Slick roads can quickly be deadly, so slow down and pay close attention to weather and road conditions.

Yes, we know there are more traffic fatalities coming in 2018- don't be one of them.

[CDOT]