What to Know for Memorial Day Weekend 2021
Memorial Day marks the kickoff to summer as well as one of the busiest travel times of the year,
Now that more Americans are vaccinated and COVID-19 cases throughout the US are dropping, countless families feel comfortable traveling for Memorial Day weekend, which falls on May 27 to May 31, 2021. AAA Travel expects more than 37 million people to travel 50 miles or more from home, a 60% increase from last year when only 23 million Americans traveled, the lowest on record since AAA recorded this data in 2000. Clearly, people are itching to enjoy their vacations that were put on hold because of the pandemic.
AAA Travel expects auto travel to increase 52% compared to 2020, estimating that nearly 12 million Americans will travel by car this holiday, as compared to 2020. More than 9 in 10 travelers will drive to their destinations, rather than fly, take trains, and take buses.
More Travel, More Tickets?
The National Safety Council (NSC) estimates that 415 people may die on the roads in the US this Memorial Day holiday. The average number of traffic deaths during Memorial Day over the last 6 years is 14.1% higher than those that occurred during comparable weekends. INRIX predicts drivers will experience the longest travel delays before Memorial Day weekend during the afternoons on Thursday, May 27, and Friday, May 28.
The police are well aware of these dangers and are cracking down on traffic offenders on Memorial Day weekend as a result. Considering it’s one of the deadliest holidays on the road, you can expect to see more police officers waiting to give tickets and make arrests.
Travel delays could bring out the worst in people. Sitting in traffic often triggers road rage, which is a form of distracted driving. Road rage can result in speeding, improper turns, improper passing, tailgating, running red lights and stop signs, and much more. Many road trippers may be unfamiliar with the streets and highways they’re traveling on, which could not only fuel road rage but also increase the chances of traffic tickets.
To better avoid getting a traffic ticket or involved in a road rage-related accident, consider these tips:
- Take a breather
- Listen to music, podcasts, or audiobooks
- Plan your schedule so you’re not in a rush
- Do not confront other drivers
Are you unfamiliar with the destination you are traveling to? It’s important to be cautious on the roads, as you could become distracted trying to figure out where you’re going. Distracted driving is one of the leading causes of car accidents, and if you are traveling somewhere you’ve never been to before, you are particularly at risk of getting into a collision. For this reason, we list some safe driving tips for Memorial Day weekend below:
- Map out your route ahead of time
- Get plenty of rest
- Bring water and snacks for the road
- Do not drive drowsy
- Drive defensively
- Take breaks along the way
- Avoid using a GPS on your cellphone
- Pack an emergency bag with essentials such as a tire gauge, tire iron, jumper cables, etc.
OWI Dangers on Memorial Day Weekend
One of the strongest threats to road safety is OWI. Operating while intoxicated is extremely common during holidays, especially Memorial Day weekend. This is why law enforcement agencies throughout the US increase police patrols and sobriety checkpoints. Although sobriety checkpoints are illegal in Wisconsin, city police forces will step up enforcement efforts at times when drunk drivers are most likely on the roads.
Memorial Day weekend attracts day drinkers and night drinkers alike, meaning you could see more police patrols during the day and even more so at night this holiday. If you are suspected of OWI and eventually get convicted, you’re looking at fines, potential jail time, license suspension, IID installation, and more. Examine the drunk driving prevention tips below to best avoid these devastating OWI consequences:
- Plan a designated driver (DD) who you trust to stay sober and drive you to/from your destination
- Never let your friends drive intoxicated
- Do not serve alcohol to people under 21
- Do not get in the car with an intoxicated driver
- Call a friend or family member to drive you
- Use a rideshare service like Uber or Lyft
- Do not mix alcohol or drugs with your prescription medications
- Call 9-1-1 if you suspect an intoxicated driver on the roads, and drive defensively to avoid colliding with them
- Stay overnight at the party host’s home or book a hotel room
- Do not drink and drive, even after consuming only one beverage
Arrested? You Know Who to Call.
Memorial Day commemorates the men and women who died serving our country. Although it is known for barbeques and parties, Memorial Day is also known for being one of the busiest and most dangerous holidays of the year for travel. As we discussed above, you could get traffic tickets or arrested for OWI. Worse, you could get seriously hurt or killed in a car collision if you’re not careful.
If you got a ticket or an OWI charge, get in touch with our defense attorney online or at (414) 882-8382 to discuss your situation and learn your legal options! Your fight is our fight.