YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) – AAA says more people than ever are traveling to celebrate the Fourth of July with 36 million Americans expected to hit the road.
In Ohio, it’s predicted that 1.8 million drivers will be traveling this weekend. Some are driving hundreds of miles and others are staying local.
“I’m from Warren but I live in Niles, which seems like it should be simple but just trying to figure out what’s open, what’s not, which way am I going, it’s a lot,” Laura Crank said.
Orange barrels line Interstate 80 for miles toward downtown Youngstown.
With several road projects going on, the Ohio Department of Transportation has created a new app to send traffic alerts and help drivers navigate detours. The tool is also available for desktop computers online.
The OHGO app is a great tool for drivers, but make sure the passenger is the one using it to be safe.
“Pay attention to the road, pay attention to your driving, make sure you know what’s going on on the road up ahead of you and keep your concentration on what you’re doing at the time,” Sergeant Jim Conrad said.
Sarah Krise and her girlfriends are taking turns driving to stay well-rested on their trip to New York City.
“Definitely pay more attention. There’s a lot more cars out there and a lot more cops, so just pay more attention,” Krise said.
There will be extra patrols over the weekend to enforce traffic laws and safe driving.
“All the things we may not pay as much attention to on a normal driving day: the increased following distances, making sure you’re maintaining the speed limit, not distracted driving. Those are the things we’re going to be looking for to make sure we get through a good holiday and have everybody be safe,” Conrad said.
Local police and state troopers will be out to make sure the weekend doesn’t turn deadly.
ODOT says the number of fatalities in the state has actually decreased slightly from last year. So far in 2016, 452 people have died in crashes, almost 30 percent of which were alcohol-related.
Sergeant Conrad addressed several WKBN viewers’ concerns in an exclusive Q&A session on Facebook Live. To see the video, visit Erika Thomas’ page on Facebook.