Authorities urge safety over holiday


Authorities are urging motorists to use caution when traveling during the Memorial Day weekend.


Staff Writer

Thursday, May 24, 2018

Memorial Day motorists should leave early to give themselves enough time to arrive alive, local and state authorities said.

“Be aware of your environment, check blind spots and slow down,” said Cpl. Brad Summerlin of the Rocky Mount Police Department.

The State Highway Patrol is expecting increased travel during the holiday weekend, meaning everyone should use caution on the roadways, said Patrol 1st Sgt. Michael Baker.

“North Carolina provides several vacation opportunities from the mountains to the coast, which also invites an increased number of visitors from surrounding states,” Baker said. “With this in mind, the State Highway Patrol is urging motorists to use caution while traveling.”

Throughout the weekend, troopers will be out in full force to monitor driver behavior in an attempt to reduce collisions that occur from high speed, impaired and distracted driving and aggressive driving, Baker said.

The focus is to report zero fatal collisions throughout the holiday weekend, said Col. Glenn McNeill Jr., commander of the State Highway Patrol.

“As we enjoy family and friends throughout the Memorial weekend, safety must be our top priority,” McNeill said. “While celebrating, it is important to remember the brave men and women who sacrificed their own life to guarantee the freedoms we hold so dear.”

Troopers encourage motorists to follow these suggestions:

■ Expect delays and research routes in advance to include secondary routes, detours and possible road closures.

■ Monitor speed. Speeding is still the top contributing factor to vehicle collisions.

■ Wear seatbelts. Seatbelts must be worn in both front and back seats if available.

■ Avoid road rage. Use patience when driving and avoid other motorists who may contribute to road rage situations.

■ Don't drive distracted. Avoid any distractions while driving that reduce your ability to drive safely.

Motorists involved in a property damage collision are asked to remove their vehicles from the roadway to the shoulder or emergency strip. Motorists involved in injury-related collisions should immediately contact 911 or *HP (*47) for emergency assistance. To report dangerous drivers or other emergency situations, motorists are encouraged to dial *HP or 911.

For nonemergency information, motorists are asked to contact the local Highway Patrol office and avoid using *HP.

Over the Memorial Day weekend, the state Department of Transportation will pause most road construction activities that require lane closures on major routes across the state to help holiday travelers have smoother trips, said Sean Williams with the Transportation Department.

“By avoiding traffic delays, motorists can reach their destinations safely and efficiently,” Williams said.

Workers will suspend most construction projects along interstates and highways from 6 a.m. Friday until 9 p.m. Tuesday.

Williams said drivers should travel at nonpeak hours when possible. Stay extra alert in work zones. Even if work is suspended, drivers may encounter narrowed lanes and traffic shifts.