Hitting the Road for Memorial Day Weekend

May 26, 2006--Posted at 10:15 p.m. CDT

JONESBORO, AR-- Warm weather, busy roads, and a long weekend.
It only means one thing... The unofficial kickoff for summer... Memorial Day.

"We started out yesterday morning. It was relatively slow but the farther we went the more traffic there was," said motorist Peggy Garrett.

Asthe weekend progresses the highways here in Region 8 and around the country will continue to fill. And With more traffic, motorists need to be more careful.

"You need to leave in plenty of time, so you don't have to rush and go at an excessive speed. Be sure not to follow to close. Always use two second rule, it's going to take at least two seconds to make you stop," said Sgt. Benny Cox of the Arkansas State Police.

Arkansas State Police will be out in full force this weekend making sure drivers are using caution. TroopC out of Jonesboro has over 15 patrols out cracking down. One of the main offenders on a holiday weekend are those who drink and drive.

"This time of year is hot and more people like to drink and drive. We concentrate extremely hard to focus onDWI laws and getting those people off the highways," said Cox.

Whether you are driving far or near this weekend, safety isn't the only thing on motorist's minds. Gas prices are once again high but the motorists we talked to said their travel plans were unaffected because of higher pump prices.

"We had no choice we are on our way to our Granddaughter Krista'sgraduation. That's important," said Garrett.

As tough as it is paying 2 and half dollars a gallon, one Texas motorist we talked to said it isn't that bad.

"In Dallas, it was 2.79 up to 2.85 a gallon. As we got into Arkansas it was less and even less in Jonesboro. We like the gas prices in Jonesboro," said Garrett.

Most vacationers who travel long distances plan Memorial Day months in advance, so gas prices are just a minor issue. However what about those who wait till the last minute to make plans for the unofficial kick off for summer?

"Make them early and hope you can afford to go," said Garrett.

In addition to cracking down on drunk driving, Arkansas State Police are cracking down on those who don't use their seat belts with the Click It or Ticket campaign. Make sure you have your safety belt on when you are pulled over or you could be looking at a ticket. A bad way to top off what many hope will be a great weekend.