COLUMBUS - With a significant rebound in travel expected this Memorial Day holiday weekend, the Ohio Department of Transportation (ODOT), the Ohio State Highway Patrol and AAA are urging drivers to prepare for holiday traffic.
2020 was a record low year for holiday travel. This year, AAA is predicting a 57% increase in the number of Ohioans traveling this Memorial Day weekend and a 52% increase in the number of Ohioans taking holiday road trips. Between Thursday, May 27 and Monday, May 31, AAA predicts more than 1.7 million Ohioans will travel at least 50 miles from home. More than 95% of these travelers will drive to their destinations.
As many prepare for their first road trip in over a year, AAA encourages motorists to ensure their cars are road trip ready, so they don’t become one of the 468,000 drivers that will call AAA for roadside assistance this holiday weekend.
“As more people get the COVID-19 vaccine and consumer confidence grows, Americans are demonstrating a strong desire to travel this Memorial Day,” said Paula Twidale, senior vice president, AAA Travel. “This pent-up demand will result in a significant increase in Memorial Day travel, which is a strong indicator for summer, though we must all remember to continue taking important safety precautions.”
With the increase in travel on Ohio roads, ODOT will work to reduce the size of work zones and remove as many lane closures as possible for the upcoming holiday weekend.
“We want everyone to reach their destination and return home safely. It is so important to focus on the road, the signage, and obey the speed limit, especially in work zones,” said ODOT Director Jack Marchbanks.
As part of the Click it or Ticket campaign and the 6-State Trooper Project, safety belt usage will be a primary focus of the Ohio State Highway Patrol during the upcoming Memorial Day weekend. Last year in Ohio, 20 people were killed in fatal crashes over the holiday weekend. Of those fatalities in which a safety belt was available, 50% were unbelted. Additionally, the Patrol will be focusing on impaired driving. During last year’s holiday weekend, 10 of the 20 fatal crashes involved impairment. Over the course of the weekend, troopers will be highly visible on Ohio’s roadways encouraging drivers to wear their safety belts and to drive sober.