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Heavy traffic predicted for Thanksgiving weekend

From staff and wire reports • Nov 22, 2016 at 11:00 AM

State troopers will be out in full force to help with highway safety as Ohio prepares for its busiest Thanksgiving holiday travel weekend in 11 years.

AAA predicts the highest Thanksgiving traffic volume in Ohio since 2005 with more than 2 million Ohioans traveling at least 50 miles from home between Wednesday and Sunday. About 90 percent of Ohio travelers will drive to their destinations.

Construction projects remain a consideration for drivers throughout the state, but Ohio Department of Transportation officials said ODOT will try to reduce those projects' impact as much as possible during the holiday weekend.

With nearly 5,000 work zone crashes already this year, including 26 deaths and more than 150 serious injuries, motorists must pay attention to reduce work zone crashes, ODOT officials said.

There are a number of ways people can stay safe during the holiday season, according to Lt. Douglas Hamman of the state Highway Patrol’s Norwalk post.

“Traffic volume increases around the holidays,” Hamman said. “We (the state Highway Patrol) encourage people to slow down, take their time and arrive safely.”

He also emphasized the importance of wearing a seatbelt.

From 2012-2014, more than half of people killed on Ohio's roadways were not wearing a safety belt.

Troopers will be concentrating on enforcement regarding speed, impaired drivers, reckless operation, and motorists who aren't wearing safety belts.

Anyone planning on consuming alcohol should either avoid the roads or enlist a designated driver.

Another concern is the increase in the number of distracted drivers.

A 2009 study by the University of Utah found that drivers who text are six times more likely to be involved in a crash.

Hamman said the most important things to keep in mind are to “slow down, be patient, buckle up and arrive at (your) destination safely.”

 

EDITOR’S NOTE: Reflector Staff Writer Ivy Keller and Lee Morrison of New Philadelphia’s The Times-Reporter (TNS) contributed to this story.

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