Crowded Roads Could Be Dangerous

MEDINA, Ohio - Just this past weekend alone, 18 people were killed on Ohio highways, and the official start to the holiday season hasn't even begun.

One of the reasons for the spike in fatalities is that the roads are crowded, 19/43 News' Bill Younkin reported.

Since the terrorist attacks in September, according to workers at AAA, the number of people who are driving rather than flying has gone up by 4 percent.

Now, local authorities are taking steps to make sure that you don't become a statistic this holiday season.

Law enforcement has a warning for us all as we head into the most dangerous holiday weekend for travelers: watch your speed.

"Our job is for strict traffic enforcement during the holiday season," Ohio State Highway Patrol Lt. Cory Davies said. "We'll be out there in force.

"We're looking at impaired drivers, speeding violators, of course, and we'll also have a special emphasis on child safety seats this weekend."

AAA in Cleveland is estimating that overall holiday travel will be down 6 percent this year. Among those who are traveling, fewer people are flying, more are taking the train and the rest are hitting the highways.

AAA's best advice to you is to give yourself plenty of time, leave early if you can and obey the traffic laws. They also add that driving is made less stressful this year because fuel costs are 30 to 50 cents a gallon under what we paid a year ago.

"The silver lining in it all is that you can get where you are going a lot cheaper than you could a year ago," Davies said.

Not only is the State Patrol going to work a lot of overtime to try to keep us safe, but both the Lorain and Summit county sheriff's departments tell us that they've gotten grants to put additional deputies on their roads as well.

To check road conditions before you travel, visit the AAA travel weather Web site.