It’s going to be one of the busiest Memorial Day weekends on the nation’s roadways. This is according to a survey by AAA, which projects that more than 41.5 million Americans will travel this Memorial Day weekend, nearly 5 percent more than last year and the most in more than a dozen years. INRIX, a global transportation analytics company, expects travel delays on major roads could be up to three times longer than normal, with the busiest days being Thursday and Friday (May 24-25) as commuters mix with holiday travelers. The vast majority of travelers — 36.6 million — will hit the road this Memorial Day, 4.7 percent more than last year.
Dangers of the Holiday Weekend
Local law enforcement here in Southern California is of course gearing up for this hectic holiday weekend. California Highway Patrol has issued alerts to motorists about buckling up and refraining from driving under the influence or driving while texting. Beginning 6 p.m. May 25, CHP will begin “maximum enforcement period” during which all available officers will be on the roadways catching DUI offenders and other traffic violators.
During the 2017 Memorial Day weekend, there were 921 DUI arrests statewide. Of the 45 people killed in crashes during the holiday period, 70 percent or 32 victims were not wearing seatbelts, according to the CHP. Officials are saying that seatbelts can and do save lives and that these deaths can be prevented by one simple act – buckling up. The CHP campaign will coincide with sobriety checkpoints and saturation patrols planned in a number of cities in the Southland.
Driving Safety Tips
There are a number of steps motorists can take to avoid car accidents during this busy holiday time on the road:
- Never drink and drive. If you imbibe at a party or gathering, be sure you take a cab or designate a sober driver to take you home.
- Always wear your seatbelt. Make sure any children who are traveling are secured in a child safety seat that is properly installed in the vehicle.
- Put away cell phones and other distracting devices during your drive.
- Make sure you get enough rest and sleep before you embark on a long road trip. Driving while sleepy or fatigued is as dangerous as drunk driving.
- If you spot an erratic driver on the roadway, call 911 and report them. You may be saving lives.
We hope you have safe and happy Memorial Day holiday!