State Police, AAA urge safety for holiday weekend travelers

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BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) – The streets are crowded this Labor Day weekend as Americans hit the road for a final summer road trip.

AAA says its seen travel growth for every holiday this season.

“The summer started out with Memorial Day, Independence Day very strong for travel,” said Elizabeth Carey, a spokesperson for AAA Western and Central New York. “There’s no reason why Labor Day travel won’t be as well.”

Well, there could be one reason. Hurricane Dorian is barreling toward Florida.

Several airlines have already issued travel waivers and at least some people are changing their air travel plans.

Most people are driving to their destinations, though, and most of those plans for people around here will not be impacted.

Carey says the big trend for road trips this weekend is to travel within a three hour’s drive from home.

And, she says, lower gas prices are fueling a road trip surge.

“We’re paying about 20, 25 cents less than we were last year at this time, so that’s something that’s going to encourage people to take that last summer road trip,” Carey explained. “It’s the last long weekend of the summer. they want to go out there and make those memories with their families.”

For everyone, safety has to be the priority.

State Troopers and other law enforcement officers will be out in force across our area making sure everyone is following the rules.

“Expect to see road checks. We’re going to put designated DWI patrols, underage drinking enforcement. We look for all those things, and those things all come together to ensure that you get from point A to point B safely,” said Trooper James O’Callaghan, public information officer for New York State Police Troop A.

Trooper O’Callaghan says whether you’re traveling far or stay closer to home for the long holiday weekend, if you’re planning to drink, you need to have a plan to get back safely.

“Whether it be a designated driver, Uber, Lyft, ride sharing, cabs, anything,” he said, “don’t get behind the wheel if you’re intoxicated.”

Don’t be distracted behind the wheel, either.

“Put the phones down,” Carey advised. “Put the phone right in the trunk of the car where you can’t get your hands on it until you get to your destination. Or have a co-pilot that can run the phone and the map while you focus on keeping your eyes on the road.”

More road trips are in many drivers’ futures.

Carey says even before the unofficial end to summer that comes with Labor Day, AAA is seeing more people come in to make plans for fall foliage tours.

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