As people across Southern California prepare to kick off the summer travel season, transportation officials are reminding commuters to plan for traffic and to play it safe over Memorial Day weekend.
Drivers getting out of town for the long weekend should expect heavier traffic by early Friday afternoon, California Highway Patrol officials said. CHP officers will also be out in “full force” from Friday at 6 p.m. to Monday at 11:59 p.m, authorities said.
All available officers throughout California will be deployed during this period “to focus enforcement on occupant restraints, speed violations and DUI drivers,” CHP officials said in a statement.
During Memorial Day weekend in 2012, 25 people were killed in collisions in California and more than 1,300 were arrested on suspicion of driving under the influence, according to the CHP.
“The CHP’s primary mission is to prevent the loss of life,” CHP Commissioner Joe Farrow said in a statement. “We want you to enjoy and celebrate, but we ask you to do it responsibly.”
At Los Angeles International Airport, officials are expecting an estimated 706,600 travelers to pass through the airport this Memorial Day Weekend – about 31,000 more travelers than last year during the same weekend.
Friday and Monday are expected to be the busiest travel days, officials said, and air travelers should expect busy passenger terminals and mostly full flights.
Airport officials also recommend passengers departing during peak travel periods -- 6 to 9 a.m., 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., and 7 to 11 p.m. –- arrive at least two hours before departure for domestic flights and three hours before international flights.
Many Southern Californians already have a head start on their holidays. In Anaheim, Disneyland kicked off the holiday weekend by staying open for 24 hours, starting at 6 a.m. Friday. Hundreds of excited visitors were already lined up by Thursday evening.