The roadways are expected to be hot over the holiday weekend as people increasingly get out and enjoy loosening pandemic restrictions.

The Mississippi Highway Patrol is planning its enforcement strategy with safety checkpoints for impaired driving and seat belt laws from midnight Thursday to midnight Monday.

MHP Director Col. Randy Ginn encourages drivers to remember that their actions behind the wheel have consequences for themselves and others.

“If everyone will simply slow down, buckle up, put down their phone and avoid driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs, we can all have a safe and enjoyable Memorial Day weekend,” he said.

MHP hopes to see a better result than the 2020 holiday, which included two highway fatalities and 157 highway crashes across the state.

The busiest driving times, according to AAA, will precede the holiday weekend on Thursday afternoon and Friday afternoon. The auto club predicts a 52 percent increase in auto travel over the holiday compared to last year, with 34 million Americans expected to take road trips.

Those hitting the highway can expect to pay more at the gas pump. The gas price tracking service GasBuddy predicts the national average price to be $2.98 per gallon on Memorial Day, a slight drop from current prices but an increase of $1.02 from last year. It will be the costliest Memorial Day at the gas pump since 2014, when the national average was $3.66 per gallon.

“Gas prices have been increasing for months due to the continued rise in gasoline demand as a myriad of destinations reopen ahead of the summer driving season,” said Patrick De Haan, head of petroleum analysis at GasBuddy. “The Colonial Pipeline shutdown only highlighted how much more reliant consumers have become on gasoline since the pandemic hit.”

The weather forecast is favorable for the holiday – a sunny and mild weekend is expected, with the high temperature dipping into the mid 70s on Saturday.

Staff Writer

Jebb Johnston is a 1991 Alcorn Central High School graduate and a 1995 Ole Miss journalism graduate. His primary beats are city and county government.

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