SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (WICS) — Thousands of people are getting ready to hit the road for the holiday weekend, here's what you need to know if you’ll be traveling over Memorial Day.
Illinois Department of Transportation and local law enforcement agencies gave some information on how they are preparing for the holiday season and how your family can be safe while traveling.
Stay safe over the holiday is the message from IDOT as we head into one of the busier travel weekends for the year.
IDOT Public Information Officer, Paul Wappel, said one of the best ways to protect yourself and your family is to buckle up and stay sober.
"It’s important to for everybody to know to buckle up and don’t drive impaired, have a designated driver. don’t text and drive, don’t drive distracted. it’s important to follow all those safety reminders because it might not only save your life, it could save the lives of others as well," Wappel said.
IDOT will be opening some lanes currently under construction to handle the heavier traffic this weekend.
But along with travelers, law enforcement will also be out in full force.
John Hayes, Sangamon County Sheriff’s Captain and Commander of Operations said they’re partnering with IDOT and state police to make sure drivers are obeying the rules of the road.
"We are out there enforcing traffic laws, specifically speeding, things dealing with occupant protection. Drive the speed limit, and look out at the intersections. you want to be a defensive driver, not an offensive driver," Hayes said.
Illinois state police trooper Jayme Bufford said the increased number of people traveling on the roadways creates a higher chance for crashes.
Troopers will be on the lookout for what they call the fatal four violations.
"Driving under the influence, speeding, not wearing a seatbelt, and distracted driving. We have increased patrols out there this weekend looking for those types of things happening. obviously, we want to keep the roadways safe for everybody traveling throughout Illinois," Trooper Bufford said.
Officials tell me 15 people died on Illinois roads last Memorial Day weekend, and obeying the rules of the road is the best way to prevent that from happening again.
The holiday weekend officially begins at six pm this Friday and will run through Monday evening at midnight. ISP said if you’re traveling during those hours to be extra cautious.
Officials say it is important to travel safely while on the roads to ensure there will be no harm done to others.