Highway Patrol increasing presence for Labor Day Holiday

BILOXI, MS (WLOX) - By Elizabeth Vowell – email

BILOXI, MS (WLOX) - Driving during the holiday weekend can be frustrating. With heavy traffic, it's easier to get road rage than it is to enjoy a drive.

However, when Highway Patrolman Cpl. Johnny Poulos is monitoring the thick holiday traffic, he keeps one thing in mind:

"Everyone is trying to get to a destination. We want them to make it, too," said Poulos.

According to Highway Patrol, there were around 40,000 traffic deaths last year, and the chances of accidents go up as holiday traffic increases. That's why officers will be out in full force during the Labor Day holiday.

"Everyone wants to hear their family member drive back up into the drive way. We want them to drive back up in their driveway, too. It's not a good situation to have to inform someone they've just lost a loved one in a car crash," said Poulos.

Poulos said there are several things you can do to safely make it from Point A to Point B:

  • Cut out distractions like cell phones
  • No texting while driving
  • Always wear your seatbelt
  • Give yourself plenty of time to travel

"When you do not give yourself enough time to reach your destination, you get in the vehicle and speed becomes a factor. When speed becomes a factor, you have crashes, and then we have loss of life," Poulos explained.

When the stress of traveling becomes distracting on the road, Poulos has one more tip: Just focus on getting to your destination safely.

According to the Highway Patrol, holiday travelers should expect to see more officers and checkpoints monitoring traffic. The holiday patrolling period will end Monday night at midnight.

Copyright 2010 WLOX. All rights reserved.