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    Friday, September 29, 2023

    Traveling this holiday weekend? Buckle up.

    Despite relatively high gasoline prices, Labor Day weekend travelers are expected to hit the road in greater numbers than they did a year ago, AAA, the travel organization, predicts.

    And, according to INRIX, a Kirkland, Wash.-based analyzer of transportation data, the busiest period on the nation’s highways figures to be between 2 and 6 p.m. on Thursday.

    Higher-than-normal traffic volumes also are expected from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. on Friday.

    “Drivers who have flexibility in planning are encouraged to travel at off-peak hours ― before 7 a.m. or after 8 p.m.,” Tracy Noble, AAA’s spokeswoman in Greater Hartford, said.

    Gas prices that have been creeping up since mid-July are still slightly lower than they were a year ago, in most cases, and are not expected to deter holiday travelers. As of Wednesday, the average price of a gallon of regular gas in the New London-Norwich area was $3.819, a marginal increase over the price a year ago, $3.807. Wednesday’s statewide average was $3.805, down from $3.866 last year.

    “Whether you are hitting the road, headed to the airport or getting ready to set sail over the holiday weekend, travelers should expect a lot of company and plan accordingly,” Noble said. “Drivers, in particular, should ensure their vehicles are road ready, especially given the toll summer heat can take on batteries and tires.”

    Last year, AAA responded to almost 5,000 emergency roadside service calls in Connecticut over the Labor Day weekend. Almost half of those calls required a tow.

    AAA reminds drivers that the Connecticut Move Over Law requires drivers to slow down and, when possible, to change lanes to keep away from police, fire and emergency personnel and tow truck drivers responding to roadside incidents. The law requires that drivers move over for all disabled vehicles as well.

    Connecticut State Police announced Wednesday that troopers from each of the agency’s 11 troops will conduct roving drunk-driving patrols from 12 a.m. Friday through 11:59 p.m. Monday. In addition, troopers will patrol state waterways.

    “As of today, the forecast is very promising …,” Col. Stavros Mellekas, commanding officer of the state police, said in a statement. “Drivers should plan for plenty of time to reach their destination. Expect road delays, proceed with caution and remember that following traffic rules is everyone’s responsibility.”

    State police urge people who plan to consume alcohol or use cannabis to designate a driver. People on the road who see what they believe may be an impaired driver are urged to call 911.

    Over the 2022 Labor Day weekend, state police cited 377 motorists for speeding and made 30 DUI arrests. They responded to 345 accidents, two of which resulted in serious injuries.


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