INDEPENDENCE, Ohio — With Memorial Day weekend, the unofficial kickoff to summer travel, now just a few days away, the AAA, Ohio Department of Transportation, Ohio State Highway Patrol and Cleveland Hopkins International Airport gave an update Wednesday on what those heading elsewhere can expect.
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Officials say that this upcoming weekend will see 42.3 million Americans traveling more than 50 miles to visit friends and family. In fact, 2023 is expected to be the third-busiest Memorial Day weekend for travel since 2000.
This year, the demand for flights is continuing to skyrocket, as nearly 3.4 million travelers are expected to fly on Memorial Day weekend, up 11% from last year.
In Cleveland alone, Hopkins Airport is expecting 3.2 million travelers this year, compared to 2.8 million last year. That means if you head to the airport, make sure you get there early. And if you can, avoid going between 6 a.m. and 9 a.m.
"Even if you're picking someone up, please check all the websites that are available," advised John Hogan, Hopkins Airport's deputy chief for marketing and air service development. Hogan says the airport's website can give you valuable information on wait times at TSA, plus parking situations, and what spots and lots are available.
If you hit the roads the summer, make sure you are driving safely. According to the Ohio State Highway Patrol (OSP), there were over 4,600 work zone crashes in the state last year. Look for extra troopers on the roads this summer.
"We advise all motorists to drive cautiously through construction zones as lanes of travel can shift quickly and become narrow," added Brent Kovacs from the Ohio Department of Transportation (ODOT)
As the Distracted Driving Law takes effect in Ohio, the OSP says there's no better time than now to put those phones down while you're behind the wheel.
"In 2022, during this period known as the 'Hundred Deadliest Days of Summer,' which runs from Memorial Day through the Labor Days weekend, nearly 70,000 crashes occurred in Ohio roadways," said Lt. Pablo Cruz of the OSP. "We want to encourage everyone to drive responsibly and arrive at their destinations safely to enjoy these celebrations with their loved ones."
You can watch the entirety of the press conference in the video player below.