W.Va., Va. drivers prepare for Memorial Day weekend

Published: May. 25, 2023 at 11:21 PM EDT
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PRINCETON, W.Va. (WVVA) - There appeared to be some relief headed on the roads Thursday, after the COVID-19 pandemic put the brakes on holiday travel for more than two years.

“2023 seems to be the year where people are really looking to get back to normal, and back to what they were doing pre-pandemic,” said Morgan Dean, Spokesperson with AAA Mid-Atlantic.

More than 1.5 million people in the Two Virginias were expected to hit the highways and byways as of Thursday – and with the pandemic over at the federal level, it may be the first trip for many since 2019.

“[There will be] some of the busiest roads that folks have seen in probably three or four years,” said Dean. “So there’s going to be a lot of traffic out there, there is the potential for more crashes out there.”

In the Mountain State, the personnel with the Turnpike Authority said they’ve prepared for a holiday spike in traffic flow.

“We’re going to increase police presence, we’re going to increase even our toll personnel,” said Steve Maynard, Director of Tolls. “Even all the way up to the director we try to make ourselves available.”

The same rang true across the state line in Virginia.

“law enforcement agencies all over the state of Virginia in partnership are going to be doing some high visibility enforcement this weekend,” said Dean.

Dean added Friday and Monday will be the busiest days on the road, and noted it will be best to leave around noon both days to avoid rush hours in bigger cities.

While everyone surely wants to get to their destination as soon as possible, however – safety should still remain top-of-mind while traveling.

“Everyone should be buckled up every time, every trip no matter where they’re headed off to,” said Dean. “The cell phone is one of the worst and the biggest ones out there, hand that off to a copilot if you’re going to be using that for GPS, put it up in its holder in a non distracting spot on the windshield.”

Dean added drivers should rest-up before a long ride, along with making sure to stay alert on the road.