SPARTANBURG, S.C. (WSPA) – For the first time in 20 years, because of the Coronavirus, Memorial Day travel volume is not being predicted by AAA. But that doesn’t mean people won’t still be getting out for the holiday.
7 News spoke with the South Carolina Highway Patrol about what they’re expecting to see on the roads this weekend and learned what advice they have for drivers.
“The governor has lifted a lot of the restrictions, so you can expect a heavier volume of traffic this weekend,” Trooper Joe Hovis said.
While the roads may not be as packed as last year’s Memorial Day weekend, it’s likely you’ll see more cars in the next few days than what we’ve seen recently, as people make plans to get out of the house.
“This Sunday, I have off and I would like to–if I can–because I used to work at the beach–go to the beach and see my friends and have a good weekend,” driver Andrew Regan said.
Others aren’t quite ready to travel yet.
“My plans are to stay home and be safe, because of the Coronavirus,” driver Tina Davis said.
For those who are hitting the road, the South Carolina Highway Patrol wants to remind you of some important safety tips, as they’ll be out in full force this weekend.
“The laws were there before the pandemic and they’re going to be here afterwards, and, of course, we’re going to be here to enforce them,” Trooper Hovis said.
Trooper Hovis told 7 News that, over the past few months, they’ve noticed higher-than-normal speeding.
“People driving in the triple digits, over 100 miles per hour–or 25 miles over the speed limit,” Hovis said.
He said that can cost you up to $440 and six points off your driver’s license.
He asks that you drive the appropriate speed and always wear your seatbelt.
“If you have your seatbelt on, you have an 88% chance of surviving any crash that you might be in,” he said.
Hovis also asks that you keep your eyes on the road at all times as distracted driving can be very dangerous.
“If you absolutely, positively have to text, we ask that you pull into a safe place and do your texting,” he said. “Then, put your phone down and enter back into the highway safely.”
And last but not least, Trooper Hovis asks that you do not drink and drive.
“50% of all of our fatalities in the state of South Carolina are alcohol-related,” he said.
Trooper Hovis told 7 News he’s hoping drivers will follow these rules as they make their way to their holiday destinations.
“We want you to have a great Memorial Day weekend, but we want you to have a safe one as well,” he said.
AAA said they believe many who aren’t traveling this Memorial Day weekend are making future travel plans as online bookings have been on the rise.
The CDC continues to recommend that Americans stay home and avoid nonessential travel.
According to S.C. Highway Patrol, since the beginning of this year, they’ve had 4,734 speeding cases where the driver was going 25mph over the speed limit. They’ve had 846 cases of reckless driving.