Drivers cautioned as they hit the road for the holiday weekend

EAU CLAIRE, Wis. (WEAU)- If you're heading somewhere for the holidays, you'll want to be extra careful on the roads because of the weather and the expected increase in traffic this weekend.

According to AAA, this holiday weekend is expected to be a record-breaking year of drivers on the road.
That's partly due to lower gas prices and because Christmas falls on the weekend this year.

“We will be going to Cedar Rapids, Iowa,” Anna Rybicki said of Eau Claire. “It’s about 5 hours if all the children behave themselves.”

The Rybicki family will not be the only one on the roads this weekend, AAA says around 93 million Americans will be driving this holiday.

“I think this holiday in particular is going to be extreme heavy traffic today, especially because it falls on a Friday right before the Christmas weekend,” Sergeant Michael Melgaard with the Wisconsin State Patrol said. “Normally before Christmas Eve and Christmas, we get a lot of holiday traffic, but with it falling on the end of a work week, people leaving for the week to vacation, we're going to have more traffic than usual on the day before Christmas Eve.”

The Wisconsin State Patrol says extra personnel will be added for the holidays and maintenance crews are out trying to stay ahead of the curve to keep roads clear.

“We’re also planning ahead with highway maintenance for the expected storm on Sunday into Monday throughout our region involving some wintery mix, possibly ice and snow,” Melgaard added. “It could be some treacherous travel times come Sunday/Monday too, so we're trying to plan ahead now for that.”

And patience while driving is key.

“Be kind to each other out there people,” Rybicki said. “It might get a little crazy, but we'll all get where we need to go if we cooperate.”

Because you'll get home for the holidays a lot faster driving slow, than you will if you end up in a ditch.

Alcohol is a huge concern this holiday weekend too. The State Patrol says troopers tend to see more people drinking because of the holiday, and reminds folks to not get behind the wheel if you've been drinking.

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