EUGENE, Ore. — Labor Day Weekend is here, and that means holiday traffic. Friday is expected to be one of the busiest travel days of the year, meaning that the Interstate 5 corridor will be jammed with traffic.
The American Automobile Association says that about five million people in the Pacific Northwest will be taking trips this holiday weekend. Four million will travel by car, which is a 6 percent increase over last year. Travelers we spoke to say they’re hitting the road as soon as possible to beat the traffic.
Lower gas prices may also lead to increased traffic. Gas prices are down from the same time last year; heading into the weekend, the average price for a gallon of gas is $3.77, which is down 20 cents from 2012. The Oregon and OSU football games are also expected to add to the congestion since many Duck and Beaver fans will be hitting the road on Saturday.
Of course, heavier traffic means more law enforcement presence, and Sgt. Lang Hinke with the Oregon State Police says officers will be on the lookout for drunk drivers.
“We will have some troopers out there working overtime shifts, looking for impaired drivers,” says Hinke. “So if you plan to drink, have a designated driver. It’s always the best policy.”
OSP says its presence will be focused on the afternoon hours. Drivers should also be alert for road restrictions, direction changes, and construction. However, the most important point is to drive safely because more cars on the road could lead to more crashes. The Oregon Department of Transportation says that since 1970, this holiday period has averaged about seven fatalities per year on Oregon roads.