Memorial Day traffic

Troopers are expecting an increase in traffic in Dothan over the Memorial Day holiday.

With most states easing stay-at-home orders issued to combat the spread of COVID-19, the Alabama Law Enforcement Agency is expecting traffic to increase this Memorial Day holiday weekend, which runs from 12:01 a.m. Friday, May 22, through midnight Monday, May 25.

“With an increase in traffic expected, we will have extra troopers on the roadways,” said ALEA Capt. Tracy Nelson. “Memorial Day weekend officially kicks off the summer, and everyone is ready to hit the roadways.”

Numerous roads are affected because there are so many different routes to the beaches, rivers and lakes that run through Alabama, Nelson said.

“Each year during the summer, we see an increase in traffic just because so many motorists travel through our state to reach their vacation destination,” he said. “We know everyone is ready to get out and have a good time.

“But remember, an increase in traffic on the roadways can also mean an increase in motor vehicle crashes. That’s why every available trooper will be on the roadway. We believe a heavy trooper presence will prevent some motorists from breaking the law.”

Troopers will be looking for motorists who are drinking, driving or speeding.

“We have a zero-tolerance for drinking and driving,” Nelson said. “Because we are still seeing a traffic fatalities related to speeding, we will also target speeders as well. Motorists should be alert and don’t become distracted while driving.

“We want everyone to enjoy the upcoming holiday, but we want it enjoyed safely.”

Nelson also reminds motorists traveling through Alabama that the state has an open container law and that law is enforced. It is against the law for a person to have in his or her possession alcoholic beverages in an open container in the passenger area of a motor vehicle of any kind.

ALEA offers the following safety tips for the upcoming holiday weekend:

On the road:

» Buckle up, no matter how short the trip. Even back seat occupants must use seat belts or child restraints.

» Do not drive under the influence of alcohol or drugs. Select a designated driver in advance or plan to use a ride-share service.

» Do not drive while distracted. Distractions are not limited to texting. The list includes passengers, radio, food and items or activities that take your focus off driving.

» Mind your speed. Speed limits are set for a reason.

» Expect traffic congestion, particularly along popular routes to the beach or lake. Leave early if you must arrive by a specific time.

On the water:

» Make a habit each time to check the boat’s safety equipment before departing.

» Do not boat under the influence of alcohol or drugs. Select a designated driver beforehand.

Troopers will be on the road this weekend performing license checks and vehicle inspections.

“Remember, we want everyone to have fun and be safe this holiday weekend,” Nelson said. “But in order for motorists to be safe while traveling, all traffic laws must be obeyed.”

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