ST. GEORGE – A record number of people are expected to travel this holiday weekend, according to AAA Travel. An estimated 46 million Americans are expected to celebrate Thanksgiving away from home – the most since 2007, and with gas prices being the lowest in five years, more than 41 million people are are expected to travel the nations highways.
The Utah Highway Patrol will be out in full-force enforcing traffic laws to help keep the roadways safe. However, it’s up to all drivers to follow the rules for safe travel.
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The No. 1 safety tip is to buckle up. Travelers are also expected to obey speed limits and to move over for emergency response vehicles.
UHP troopers are warning drivers not to drink and drive. They also discourage the use of mobile devices which can distract drivers from watching the road.
The holidays are among the busiest times of the year for travelers in Southern Utah and especially Washington County, UHP officials said.
“One of the things we like to do is give travel tips,” UHP Sgt. Danny Ferguson said. “Some of those tips include wearing seat belts. It is a law in the state of Utah that you wear your seat belt and obviously, we consider it a lifesaver.”
Ferguson also said speeding is the No. 1 contributor to accidents along the 42 mile-stretch of highway that passes through the county. That’s why troopers pull over those breaking the speed limit, he said.
Drivers should also only drive as fast as the conditions allow, despite what the speed limit is.
“It’s a fact that you can be driving 35 miles an hour in a posted 80 mile-an-hour zone and you could be driving 30 miles an hour too fast for the conditions.” Ferguson said. “You need to adjust the speed for the conditions around you.”
Fatigued driving is another factor in car accidents, Ferguson added. He suggested getting plenty of rest before traveling. He also suggests packing emergency equipment in case your vehicle breaks down in inclement weather.
The UHP cautions all drivers to play it safe, obey all rules, and give yourself plenty of time to get to and from your destination so you and your family may arrive alive.
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