KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) – According to AAA, more people are expected to be on the roads for the Independence Day holiday weekend in 2019 than in 2018.
First responders in East Tennessee said they always see heavier traffic on holiday weekends, which also means they usually see an uptick in crashes.
Lt. Don Boshears, with the Tennessee Highway Patrol, said more troopers will be on patrol over the weekend to help monitor more drivers.
“Expect delays. Expect congested traffic,” Boshears said.
Boshears said distracted driving is there biggest issue these days, more so than impaired driving.
Distracted driving is against the law, and while it’s always dangerous for a driver to be distracted, Boshear said that on heavier travel days drivers need to keep their eyes on the road.
“Everybody’s traveling along the speed limit or a little above, and just in a split second, you could be down to 40-45 miles an hour. If you’re distracted, you’re not going to realize that, and you’re more than likely going to be involved in a crash,” Boshears said.
Focus on driving
Jeff Bagwell, with Rural Metro, said that following the rules of the road will decrease the chances of crashing.
“Use caution, follow the law, the new law about putting the cell phone down. Not only that, but take other things out of your hands. Focus on driving. Focus on the other vehicles that are on the road,” Bagwell said.
With East Tennessee having several waterways and camping areas, drivers will most likely see a lot of vehicles pulling boats and campers.
Boshears said he can’t tell people enough to pay attention and not drive distracted.
Watching for boats, campers and tourists falls under the same concept.
Watch campers, boat trailers
“When they’re pulling campers or boats, they don’t stop as quickly as they normally would. They don’t maneuver as quickly as they normally would as far as changing lanes, accelerating, things like that,” Boshears said.
Bagwell said drivers need to plan ahead for heavier traffic, especially since more vehicles are on the roads around the holidays every year.
“The big thing is know where you’re going, have a plan, and understand the land mines, if you will, that are going to lie in your path,” Bagwell said.