Memorial Day travel outlook



MASON CITY, Iowa – We are gearing up for a busy weekend! Between the Memorial Day holiday and two north Iowa festivals, the roads will be busy.

With all those vehicles out, the risk for accidents goes up.

This is the weekend that kicks off the summer driving season. AAA projects that more than 36 million Americans will hit the road for a Memorial Day weekend get away this year. And there are things you can do, to make sure your travels are safe.

Before you take off for the weekend, there’s a few things you might want to know, like if there will be any construction delays on your route.

“Well, it’s road construction season.”

Pete Hjelmstad with the Iowa DOT says the key to safe and hassle free travels is to plan ahead.

A new website from the DOT has a list of work zones so you’ll know if you should expect detours, lane closures and delays before you hit the road.

Hjelmstad says if you are going to be driving through a work zone, keep a little extra room between you and the car in front of you.

“Most of the crashes in work zones are rear end crashes, 75% of them are and a lot of that is people, they’re not paying attention, if somebody slows down in from of them, they don’t have enough time to react,” adds Hjelmstad.

Besides slowing down to avoid a fender-bender, you’re going to want to slow down to avoid a steep ticket.

“If you go through a work zone and there’s a restricted speed zone, it’s there 24/7 not just when people are working so make sure you’re always aware of that,” adds Hjelmstad.

That’s because patrols will be out this weekend.

“When folks tend to travel for holidays, family events, gatherings like that there are always a higher risk for more accidents. People get more distracted; people tend to speed a little bit more,” says Trooper Jake Allspach.

And those on patrol know where the hot spots will be.

“Highway 9, Interstate 35 will be busy, people coming from Des Moines and Minnesota that would like to attend that event,” adds Allspach.

With busy roads expected, Hjelmstad says it’s important to remain calm.

“Just be patient, everyone’s in a hurry everybody want to get where they’re going. Just pay attention to what you’re doing.”

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