Troopers are asking drivers to be patient in traffic this year after the 2015 Memorial Day weekend led to seven deaths on state roadways.
Troopers investigated seven fatal car crashes and 342 injury-related collisions across the state in 2015, according to a press release.
In Onslow County, troopers are getting ready for the high volume of traffic in the area with extra manpower and plans to send troopers to areas where wrecks happen frequently, said Trooper J.D. Kirk.
“We try to focus on some of the areas we know are having problems,” Kirk said.
The press release said troopers would increase patrols on interstates and four-lane highways over the weekend in hopes of saving lives, but Kirk said even safe drivers need to be cautious.
“There’s more traffic on the road,” Kirk said. “You can’t predict what’s going to happen in front of you.”
For that reason, Kirk encouraged drivers to stay a couple of extra car lengths away from the car in front of them. Extra distance between cars gives drivers more time to react.
Many travelers will also be using GPS on their phones, Kirk continued, and inattention contributes to a large number of crashes each year.
“That’s something you really can’t prevent,” Kirk said. “You can’t actually make somebody pay attention.”
For those who need to use GPS, Kirk suggested looking at the route beforehand on a computer and having a general idea of where turns would be. Otherwise, turns could sneak up on the driver and leave little time to prepare. If the car behind the driver is following too close and the driver has to brake quickly for the turn, a crash could occur.
“If you’re not familiar with the area, look it up beforehand,” Kirk said.
The trooper also reminded everyone to wear their seatbelts and not to drink and drive. Kirk talked about some drivers he’s pulled over who were sitting on top of the clicked-in belt so they could remain seatbelt-free and not hear the constant ding of the car alarm reminder.
Seatbelts and safe driving saves lives, he added, and the biggest point, Kirk said, was to remember the roads will be busy this weekend. The traffic volume will be higher than normal and it may take more than five minutes to get to the store.
“If I could suggest anything,” Kirk said, it’s “just be patient.”