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AAA predicts Memorial Day weekend will see highest traffic volume since 2005

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Posted at 5:25 PM, May 27, 2016
and last updated 2016-05-27 19:25:50-04

SALT LAKE CITY -- This year's Memorial Day weekend is expected to bring out the second highest travel volume ever, according to estimates from AAA.

The Utah Highway Patrol is offering safety tips ahead of the high-traffic weekend.

“We’re hoping for Zero Fatalities this Memorial Day weekend, that's what we're looking for,” Sgt. Todd Royce of the Utah Highway Patrol said.

But, they're also realistic, knowing that in the Intermountain West alone, nearly 3 million people are expected to undertake a road trip of at least 50 miles this weekend.

Experts with AAA say it's been about a decade since we've seen those kind of numbers.

“We’re seeing the second highest number of travelers this Memorial Day season, and the highest number since 2005,” said Rolayne Fairclough, a spokeswoman for AAA Utah. “It’s going to be a really busy holiday for everyone out there.'

And UHP expects to be very busy. Troopers will be out in force, but they say you can avoid seeing them up close and personal by remembering some basic rules of the road.

"It's simple stuff: Watch your speed, wear your seat belt, don't drink and drive, don't drive drowsy, don't drive distracted,” Royce said. “If those five things were taken out of our driving habits, these roads would be a lot safer."

So, whether you're heading across town or across state lines, officials say take breaks during longer trips and always buckle up—especially your precious cargo.

"Make sure that everyone in your car is in a seat belt or child safety seat,” Fairclough said. “Sometimes parents ease up on long trips and allow their children to get out of these safety devices… crashes happen too quickly, so you really just need to always be safe in those safety devices.”

The extra manpower for the holiday weekend will be targeting distracted, aggressive and inebriated drivers starting Friday at 9 p.m.

Memorial Day weekend marks the beginning of what officials call the "100 Deadliest Days", as fatal crashes tend to increase during the summer between Memorial Day and Labor Day weekends.