The Union Recorder

August 29, 2012

Plan for busy roadways to ensure safety

The Union-Recorder

MILLEDGEVILLE — This weekend marks what is often considered the last major travel weekend of the summer. The Labor Day holiday weekend is also one of the busiest travel periods of the year, and as we mark the waning days of summer this weekend, many of us will take to the roadways. Whether it’s to get in one last road trip before summer ends, football tailgating or backyard events with family and friends, our roadways will likely be a little more congested this weekend, so padding on a few extra minutes to your trip and taking extra precautions can mean a lot not only for you, but for others on the roads as well.

With many watchful eyes on Hurricane Isaac, the storm will likely add to the congestion on the interstates for those traveling out of state this weekend, as will the opening weekend for many local high school and area college football teams. This weekend also marks the end of boating season, which adds to local traffic on Labor Day as residents and visitors head out to the lake.

Those who will be away this Labor Day weekend should be mindful to add a few extra minutes onto your trip time in anticipation of the traffic, taking time to get to your destination without the rush to help ensure a safe arrival. This is a sound practice during any season, but with the unexpected recent weather, it is imperative. Assemble emergency supplies to keep in the vehicle, such as a flashlight, chargers, extra batteries and other items. It also helps to call and plan ahead. The Georgia Department of Transportation urges travelers to call 511 for updated information about road construction and traffic delays. Georgia 511 is a free phone service that provides real-time traffic and travel information statewide, such as traffic conditions, incidents, lane closures and delays due to inclement weather. Callers also can transfer to operators to request assistance or report incidents 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

The number of travelers on the nation’s roadways is expected to rise this Labor Day weekend despite the weather and the spike in gas prices, according to AAA, marking a post-recession high.

AAA expects 33 million Americans will either drive or fly over the holiday weekend between Thursday and Tuesday, marking the largest number of travelers since 2008 — up 2.9 percent from a year earlier.

About 28.2 million motorists will drive to their destinations, a 3.1 percent increase from last year's levels. And 2.55 million will fly to their vacation, up 3.7 percent from a year earlier, according to AAA.

Take a few additional moments this weekend to plan and prepare to get to your destination. Take precautions at your home and on the roadways and have a safe holiday weekend and safe return.