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Northern Michiganders, MSP Prepare for Memorial Day Weekend, Summertime Traffic

Bridge Traffic
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Most folks know the start of Memorial Day weekend also marks the start of summertime traffic in northern Michigan.

Lieutenant Derrick Carroll with Michigan State Police says drivers can expect more of the same.

“I just believe everyone is excited to get back out there and of course that brings extra traffic and more travelers,” Lt. Carroll states.

Drivers from all over the state are hitting the roads this Memorial Day weekend, and drivers up north can expect more traffic.

Lt. Carroll says that although they don’t have any official numbers, troopers have noticed an increase in drivers on the roads this summer since the start of the pandemic. He says they’ll have extra patrols out to keep everyone safe.

“There are more cars on the road. And again, more reason for everyone to be patient. Drive safely, drive the speed limit. Be aware of a lot of these secondary roads and highways in northern Michigan. We don’t have all the freeways you have downstate. So, when you get on a two-lane road make sure you have room to pass and don’t be in a hurry,” Carroll advises.

Some northern Michigan residents say they’ve already noticed the extra drivers. Rebecca Ligon from Traverse City was on her way back home from Ypsilanti on Friday after packing her daughter up from college. She says the traffic heading north has been rough.

“I’m on my way home and I just want to get home safe in one piece. With my trailer and my truck, in one piece,” Ligon admits. “If you’re from down state that’s fine, that’s great, but be careful because you could cause an accident and hurt somebody.”

Michigan State Police kicked off Operation CARE on Friday. It’s a Crash Awareness and Reduction Program started in partnership with Indiana State Police in 1977. The goal of the program is to keep drivers safe throughout the summer months.

Lt. Carroll says the best way for drivers to stay safe this weekend is to be cautious on those roads.

“The best way to stay safe is not drive distracted. Wear your safety belt, obey the speed limit and make sure you give yourself plenty of distance between the car in front of you so you have time to stop. Just in case they have to do some emergency braking,” Lt. Carroll says.