Holiday traffic combined with work zones could cause danger on roads

A Boardman driving instructor said there are three things you can do to better protect yourself if you run into a work zone this weekend

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BOARDMAN, Ohio (WYTV) – The roads will be clogged with Fourth of July travelers this weekend, creating some dangerous traffic conditions.

According to AAA, 19 million Ohioans are going to be traveling for the holiday — that’s 57,000 more than last year. Most of them will be driving to their destinations.

AAA said it expects to have a busy weekend, helping people fix tires and replace batteries.

It’s asking drivers to be as prepared as possible for their road trips by having a full tank of gas, leaving a few minutes early, and following posted speed limits.

“Slow down and just like, the entire trip, give yourself plenty of time. That way, you’re not stressing, you’re not rushing, and by the time you get to your destination, you’re there with plenty of time to enjoy yourself,” AAA spokesperson Jim Garrity said.

Add construction to the already busy roads and the threat of accidents increases.

Last year, Ohio saw 6,041 work zone crashes.

“They resulted in 810 minor injuries, 186 serious injuries, and 28 deaths,” said Brent Kovacs, with the Ohio Department of Transportation.

ODOT said the majority of those crashes were rear impact.

Greg Anderson, who runs All Star Driving Academy in Boardman, said those crashes happen because drivers are following another car too closely.

“They are reacting to the car in front of them when they should be reacting to everything that was a quarter-mile up ahead of them.”

If you hit work zone traffic, there are some things you can do to stay safe on the road.

“Very first thing you should do is put on your hazards so that the people behind you can see that everybody else is slowing down,” Anderson said.

Another rule of thumb? Tap your brake lights to tell the driver behind you that you are slowing down.

Also, keep a three-second following distance from the car in front of you.

“Space gives you time to react and if you don’t have time and you don’t have space, it’s gonna end up in disaster,” Anderson said.

ODOT said there will not be any new construction or detours this weekend but all exits and bridges that are closed now will remain closed until at least Wednesday.