Be wary if traveling during the holidays

COLUMBUS — Ohio highways will be full of travelers for the holidays.

Traffic volumes in Ohio increase an average of 37 percent for the Christmas holiday and 33 percent for New Year’s Day. The last time the holiday fell on a Sunday – 2011 – the busiest travel days were the Thursday before Christmas and the Monday after Christmas.

AAA is predicting a record 103.1 million Americans, including 4.2 million Ohioans, will be traveling more than 50 miles from home.

More than 90 percent will be driving to their destination, the highest total volume since AAA began tracking holiday travel data in 2001.

“The holidays are a wonderful time to spend with family and friends,” said Jerry Wray, director of the Ohio Department of Transportation. “We will do everything we can to make sure everyone gets where they need to go safely and on time. However, we also need drivers to do their part by following the speed limit, avoiding distractions, and making sure they and their passengers are wearing a seat belt.”

So far this year, there have been 1,094 traffic deaths in Ohio. Sadly, 319 of those deaths involved people not wearing a seat belt.

During high-travel holidays, ODOT makes every effort possible to reduce the size and scope of work zones. In some cases that’s not possible. Ohio has invested $2 billion into the state’s infrastructure this year with more than 1,000 construction projects in progress.

Travelers are encouraged to download Ohio’s official traffic app, OHGO, before heading out the door. The app, which is available for Apple and Android devices, allows users to view real-time traffic speeds, more than 600 live traffic cameras, construction zone information, and traffic alerts. It even allows you to create a customized route and get alerts pushed directly to your phone.

Staff report


Winter driving safety tips

Make sure car is ready: Take it to your local auto shop for a quick once over, and make sure your tires are winter ready and properly inflated.

Be prepared for road woes:It happens, crashes, construction, bad weather. Use road maps, navigator websites or in Ohio, the OHGO app.

Stay hydrated: A Mayo Clinic study shows that a mere 1- to 2-percent loss of body weight can quickly lead to fatigue and decreased alertness, which could be deadly in icy winter driving. Bodies need more fuel in the cold: extra high-energy food including sandwiches, a thermos filled with soup and fruit are valuable.

Pack a winter safety kit: Cell phone and charger; ice scraper; tow rope and jumper cables; sand or cat litter to aid with traction; blankets; flashlights, matches and emergency candles; first aid kit; portable radio..

Make frequent rest stops: Winter driving is much more fatiguing than in the summer, so you’ll want to make time to stop and stretch your legs.

Tips courtesy