Fourth of July weekend could bring increased traffic, dangers

Published 3:00 am Friday, June 30, 2017

The Fourth of July weekend kicks off tomorrow and AAA is predicting the most traveled Independence Day weekend in history.

“Combined, strong employment, rising incomes and higher consumer confidence bode well for the travel industry, in particular this Independence Day weekend,” said Bill Sutherland, AAA senior vice president of travel and publishing. “A historic 44.2 million Americans will travel to celebrate our nation’s freedom this year, adding to an already bustling summer travel season.”

An estimated 37.5 million of those travelers will be on the roadways over the five-day period, leading to the potential for danger.

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The Alabama Department of Transportation (ALDOT) is encouraging drivers to exercise precaution over the busy weekend.

“Turning one of the deadliest holidays on the road into one of the safest is in the hands of the drivers,” said Allison Green, Drive Safe Alabama coordinator, at ALDOT. “We are asking motorists to join ALDOT in making highway safety a priority for this year’s Fourth of July holiday.”

The top two tips for driver safety according to ALDOT are seat belt usage and driving sober.

People are seven times more likely to die in a crash when the driver is under the influence of alcohol or drugs according to ALDOT crash reports.

Latest stats from Drive Safe Alabama show that 56 percent of people dying in crashes on Alabama highways are not wearing a seat belt.

AAA officials also suggest getting the tires and batteries checked and bringing an extra set of car keys to avoid getting stranded on the side of the road.

To help keep roads safer, ALDOT will not have any temporary lane closures from noon today to midnight on July 4.