Kentucky State Police advises caution on roads as Labor Day weekend begins

Drivers traveling down Interstate 75 in Laurel County
Drivers traveling down Interstate 75 in Laurel County(WYMT)
Published: Sep. 4, 2020 at 4:51 PM EDT
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LAUREL COUNTY, Ky. (WYMT) - The long Labor Day weekend is now in full swing.

Typically on holidays, AAA releases their travel predictions but due to the COVID-19 pandemic, they have not released any advisories this weekend.

Earlier this summer, AAA did say travel has increased since Memorial Day, and that nearly 97 percent of people are traveling by car.

Jonathan Woodward and his family are traveling from Cincinnati down to the Smoky Mountains.

“This is probably the last thing we’re doing and then for the rest of the year we’re staying home,” said Woodward.”

They are looking forward to a weekend with friends, before going back to the daily grind of work and school.

“Just riding through the hills, riding through the mountains with my friend Matt there and, you know, get on our bikes,” Woodward said. “We don’t get to see each other much, he used to live in Cincinnati, and has been living in Tennessee for a long time now so this a great time to get to see each other and hang out, spend some quality friendship time together.”

Jenny Fuller, also from Ohio, is headed to Gatlinburg to celebrate her 50th wedding anniversary. She says she is a little concerned about traveling during the pandemic.

“A little just want to be real careful. We’re going to a little more remote area with a lodge and cabins so we’ll just be real careful,” said Fuller.

Kentucky State Police Troopers are warning drivers to be cautious this holiday weekend. They urge people to buckle up and drive safely.

KSP launched a campaign ticketing aggressive cars and trucks on September 1. This campaign targets drivers both passenger cars and commercial vehicles who are driving dangerously such as tailgating, speeding, improper lane changes and not leaving enough space to pass.

“Maybe leave a little earlier to get to your destination so you’re not stressed out trying to get from point A to point B and you’ve got kids in the back yelling crying you know taken a little more time to get to where you need to be going,” said KSP Post 11 Public Affairs Officer, Scottie Pennington.

This campaign stresses to especially drive carefully around large trucks.

“You know drivers that’s driving these little cars you know you have to give them semis a little break. You gotta be not so close to them cause if you can’t see their mirrors they can’t see you,” said Pennington.

Last year more than 6,000 crashes in Kentucky involved commercial trucks, leaving 88 dead.

“Use common sense, and make sure we don’t hear your name on the TV the next day that a bad accident has happened and somebody has lost their life,” said Pennington.

Pennington is encouraging everyone to be patient and to put their phone down.

“We’re not out to write people tickets but we’re out to save people’s lives and, you know, just ’cause you get pulled over doesn’t mean you’re gonna get a ticket,” Pennington said. “You know we saw something that was unsafe and it might lead into a ticket but it also might lead into, ’Hey you might need to get this fixed or slow down a little bit or maybe can you wear your seat belt or put your child properly in their seat belt.’”

Pennington also stressed water safety, telling people heading to area lakes to wear life jackets and to not drink while operating a boat.

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