Wednesday, September 02, 2015

Labor Day weekend is one of the busiest and deadliest times for driving rural highways

Nearly 33 million drivers are expected to hit the road over Labor Day weekend, Greg Abel reports for CARCHEX, a Baltimore-based company that provides extended auto warranties and inspections. That means many rural highways and interstates will be jam packed with people. (Ann Arbor News photo by Melanie Maxwell: a fatal accident on U.S, 23 in Michigan)

Drivers should try to travel during non-peak times, like early Saturday morning, Abel writes. He also suggests traveling to somewhere that will be less crowded, always checking travel conditions, obeying posted signs, driving carefully and if driving on toll roads, purchasing a pass that lets drivers avoid lines.

Labor Day weekend is the deadliest weekend of the year in some states, such as Michigan, where Michigan State Police say the state averaged 20 deaths per year from 1972 to 2014, Julie Mack reports for MLive. Numbers are down 24 percent in the past decade, down to six last year, a record during the 43 years of available data. Alcohol and drugs were involved in 36 percent of the state's vehicular deaths in 2014, and 56 percent of fatal crashes occurred on a local street or country road, with the majority occurring in rural areas.

To accommodate extra traffic in the popular tourist region around the Virgin River, a 200-mile tributary of the Colorado River that runs through Zion National Park and northwestern Arizona’s Virgin River Gorge before emptying into southern Nevada’s Lake Mead, the Arizona Department of Transportation is opening an extra lane on Interstate 15, Mori Kessler reports for St. George News. The area has been part of a major reconstruction project.

"Labor Day weekend ends what officials call the 100 deadliest days on Utah roads," reports KSL in Salt Lake City. As of Monday, the state has had 189 traffic deaths this year.

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