Lots of traffic expected for Memorial Day weekend

Posted at 11:42 AM, May 26, 2017

If you're headed out of town this holiday weekend, you'll definitely have company. AAA says nearly 40 million drivers are hitting the roads, and of those, 766,000 are in Wisconsin.

The interstate and major highways will be crawling with drivers, some traveling as far as 50 miles from home.

Judy Otto plans to be one of those drivers, but says she's not going that far.

"It does surprise me that there's so many people, when there's so many things that we could be doing in this area. We could just stay here and enjoy the Milwaukee area and go to the lakefront," Otto says.

But wherever you go, Wisconsin State Patrol Southeast Region Lieutenant Nathan Clarke says you can expect law enforcement. This is especially true with the start of the National Click It or Ticket Campaign.

"We do not have a quota,' explains Lt. Clarke, "We always make the joke that our troopers and inspectors are free to write as many citations as they want."

Memorial Day weekend is considered the annual kickoff for summer road trips. AAA's Public Affairs Director Nick Jarmusz says the easiest thing to do is plan ahead.

"Especially if you're going through major metro areas or construction zones. Anticipate being in some back ups and a little bit of delays, 90 percent of the travelers will be in their cars," Jarmusz says.

Lt. Clarke says more cars on the road means more drivers making bad choices, and law enforcement will be there to stop it.

"The idea is not to write citations, the idea is to generate voluntary compliance with the law," says Lt. Clarke.

AAA reports drivers are paying the highest Memorial Day gas prices since 2015. But automobile travel percentage has spiked three percent compared to last year. Of those cars, 19 percent more are renting for the holiday weekend.