Getting prepared and staying alert on the road for Labor Day weekend

Published: Sep. 2, 2022 at 5:16 PM CDT
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ROCHESTER, Minn. (KTTC) – To celebrate some of the last days of summer vacation before the start of the school year for many, many are traveling for Labor Day weekend.

“We will see numbers that are close to our pre-pandemic numbers, not quite reaching those highs we saw in 2019, but still definitely closer than what we saw in 2020 and 2021,” AAA public affairs specialist of Minnesota-Iowa Meredith Mitts said.

“This weekend we’re going to see an increase in traffic, just because of the long holiday weekend typically the end of summer, so everybody is going to be traveling before school starts,” Minnesota State Patrol trooper Troy Christianson said.

With an increase in flight delays and cancellations, people are choosing to pack up their cars and drive rather than fly.

“It is more accessible. It is more flexible. It’s easier to control along the way as well,” Mitts said.

While you may not have to worry about flight delays, there are some safety concerns like crashes. So far this year, there have been more than 270 traffic-related deaths in Minnesota.

“Buckle up and drive a safe speed defensively. Make sure you’re watching for other motorists. If they’re switching lanes or changing, they may be distracted, so you just have to be a defensive driver. Make sure that you take care of yourself and just take care of other people on the roadway as well,” Christianson said.

Minnesota State Patrol is increasing its patrols to crack down on drunk and drug driving.

“That’s [drug driving] just as dangerous if not more dangerous than alcohol, so it’s important that people never drive when they’re impaired on the roadway. Just make sure you have a designated driver,” Christianson said.

Even before you hit the road, you may want to get your car checked out to make sure you’re road ready.

“You should always be double checking your tire pressure, so make sure you have enough air in your tires. You should be checking to see if you need an oil change and that your oil levels are good. You should top off fluids like windshield wiper fluids. If your power steering or any of those fluids need to be topped off as well, your mechanic will be able to help out you with that,” Mitts said.

If you believe you are coming across a drunk or impaired driver, Minnesota State Patrol recommends to call 911 and let them know which road you are on, the direction you are traveling and a description of the vehicle and its license plate number. State patrol will get a trooper there as soon as possible to stop the driver.