Drivers, Highway Patrol urge caution over 4th of July weekend

Mid-Missouri drivers say attentiveness is key to safety over the 4th of July weekend.

Mid-Missouri residents heading out of town for the weekend told KRCG 13 Wednesday a little awareness goes a long way toward a safe and fun holiday.

Auxvasse resident Lee Bell said he always makes sure his tires are in good condition so he does not suffer any flat tires. He said he always has plenty of gas and gets as much rest as he can before a road trip.

New Bloomfield resident Fred Ridnour said he pays attention to other drivers' behavior when he is on the road.

"Wear your seat belt, drive the speed limit and watch for everybody," Ridnour said. "Don't drink and drive, don't text and drive. That's about the safest way you can travel."

The American Automobile Association estimates 41 million Americans will travel at least 50 miles from home during the Independence Day holiday, a nearly 2 percent increase over last year. Capt. Tim Hull, of the Missouri State Highway Patrol, said state troopers will be positioned every 20 miles on the state's major highways to enforce DWI and seat belt laws. Since traffic is often redirected for Independence Day events, Hull said drivers should pay careful attention to traffic patterns, especially if they are in an unfamiliar area.

"You've got campers traveling to and from locations, you've got people pulling boats, things like that that changes the traffic picture," he said.

Hull said drivers should make sure to get a good night's sleep before a long road trip and share driving duties with other passengers if possible. Bell plans to split driving time among several people during a trip to Colorado this weekend.