Nation hits roads for holiday

Published 12:00 am Sunday, May 29, 2005

Millions of Americans will hit the highways and byways this Memorial Day weekend despite higher than normal gas prices.

"Travel has been climbing up since 9-11 and gas prices are a relatively low part of people's summer travel budget," Bevi Norris, AAA public relations director, said.

AAA projects 37.2 million Americans plan to travel 50 miles or more this weekend. Approximately 31.1 million people are expected to travel via motor vehicle. Both figures are up 2.2 percent from last year.

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"Memorial Day traditionally kicks off the summer travel season," Norris said. "It is the first time the weather is nice and it is the first three-day weekend."

Amber Depriest, 38, of Ironton and her family will be driving down to Rogersville, Tenn., this weekend to her parents' summer home.

Depriest said it is about a 150-mile trip, but they take precautions to stay safe.

"We always wear our seatbelts and watch our speed," she said. "We don't rush."

The Ohio State Highway Patrol has anticipated a rise in travel this weekend.

"We've put all available personnel on the highway for the holiday weekend," Lt. Carl Roark of the State Highway Patrol said.

Roark offered a couple of tips to keeping safe on the road this weekend.

"We encourage motorists to maintain the speed limit and wear seatbelts," Roark said.

He said wearing a seatbelt is most important because there is a 50-percent chance of survival in an accident just by wearing a seat belt.