OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) – Labor Day weekend and the start of college football season mean the roads could be packed this weekend.
“It is a fun, exciting time for the state of Oklahoma right now. We do not want that fun to be ruined,” said Rylie Mansuetti, the manager of Public and Government Affairs for AAA Oklahoma. “We’re going to see a lot more drivers out there that might be distracted or impaired due to those activities… Remember that not only you are out there but people with their families and their kids out on the roads as well.”
A report from the Oklahoma Highway Safety Office revealed during the 2021 Labor Day holiday, there were 483 crashes throughout the state, with 53 of those identified as alcohol and/or drug-related. Twelve people died: the highest number in five years.
“There’s not really any excuse for driving under the influence of alcohol or marijuana. There’s plenty of rideshare options, utilize them,” said OHP Trooper Brack Miller. “Have a plan and have a backup plan.”
Miller said OHP will have extra enforcement out this weekend to make sure drivers aren’t under the influence.
Meanwhile, AAA expects to respond to nearly 3,000 roadside rescues because of broken down cars.
“Have your emergency kit well stocked year-round with things like jumper cables or you know, first aid kit,” said Mansuetti. “Have extra water on hand.”
Mansuetti adds that motorists approaching disabled vehicles on the shoulders or roadsides must move over a lane, if possible, or at least slow down, per Oklahoma state law.
The American Red Cross offers a few driving safety tips for your travel plans:
Be well rested and alert, use your seat belts, observe speed limits and follow the rules of the road. Clean your headlights and turn them on as dusk approaches or in inclement weather.
Don’t drink and drive. Have a designated driver available.
Give your full attention to the road. Avoid distractions such as cell phones.
Use caution in work zones. There are lots of construction projects underway on the highways.
Don’t follow other vehicles too closely.