DAYTON, Ohio (WDTN) – Millions of people hit the road the day after Christmas and the Ohio State Highway Patrol are reminding you to be safe on your trip home.
Trooper Sheldon Goodrum with OSP said traffic started to pick up December 26, and will last through January 1, along with some transportation experts who expected the 26th to have the worst traffic delays.
AAA reports more than 115 million Americans will be travelling this holiday season which runs through Wednesday, January 1, about 104 million of them will be hitting the roads.
“With the increased traffic flow, your best bet is going to be leave a little bit earlier, increasing your speed is never the answer,” said Goodrum. “We would recommend that if you know you’re making a long trip, or even a short trip, just give yourself a little extra time and be patient.”
His message of road safety came just one day after a Christmas afternoon crash in Dayton that left four dead and several others injured.
“Those kind of things are never easy to handle, no one wants to get that call and certainly doesn’t want officers to come to their door delivering that bad news,” said Goodrum.
He said remembering three key points will help keep you and your loved ones safe while on the busy roads.
First, always wear your seat belt.
OSP reports during this year’s Thanksgiving holiday, they issued more than 1,000 seat belt citations.
“Of course Ohio law mandates that the front passengers wear their seat belts but it never hurts to wear your seat belt regardless of where you’re located in the vehicle,” said Goodrum.
The other two points Goodrum said were to put down your phone and keep your focus solely on the road, and never drive impaired.
“We would suggest that if you know alcohol is going to be consumed, either don’t consume any alcohol or plan ahead and designate a driver so that you and everyone else on the road can get to where they’re going safely,” said Goodrum.
Goodrum reminded Miami Valley residents they can ask for a free ride of up to fifty bucks because of the ‘Arrive Safe’ program.
He also said after a deadly holiday travel season last year they are hoping residents will be careful on the roads so everyone has a happy and healthy start of the new year.
“In that five-day period, we saw 10 fatal crashes that resulted in almost a dozen fatalities,” said Goodrum. “It’s worth mentioning that a number of those occupants did not have their seat belts on when they could have, and a large portion of those crashes were OVI related.”
Goodrum said OSP should have data on this year’s holiday travel season within the next two weeks.
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