Traffic dangers increase during summer months - WSIL-TV 3 Southern Illinois

Traffic dangers increase during summer months

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WSIL -- After a weekend of deadly interstate accidents across Southern Illinois, drivers said they'd rather take back roads and state highways before getting out on I-57, I-64 or I-24.

More wheels on the pavement during the summer months requires sharper focus from those behind the wheel. Cisco Amberocio said he notices the difference.

"You've got people traveling everywhere," he said. "Parents want to go on vacation, students getting out from school trying to go back home to their families."

Johnston City Police Chief Will Stark said an extra 5,000 to 10,000 cars each day take to the nation's highways during the summer months, making this time of year more dangerous. 

"Especially around the Williamson County area and the Jefferson County area, where you get the three lanes converging into two," Stark said. "Whenever you get more traffic converging on those three lanes between slower lanes and the faster lanes, it's always a chance for more mishaps."

Mishaps on these roads killed four people in Southern Illinois over the weekend in three separate accidents. Chief Stark said speeding presents the biggest danger.

News 3 went out with an officer where it only took a few minutes of clocking drivers to find speeders going over 80 in a 55. That has former truck driver Will Hess advising people to stay alert and respectful of other vehicles, especially the big ones. 

"We get nervous when somebody's following us or we get nervous when somebody's swerving beside us or they slow down too fast because we can't stop on a dime," he said. 

These dangerous summer roads have Amberocio avoiding the busy hours. 

"I like to travel at night," he said, "because to me, I feel like it's slower at night. There's less traffic."

And other drivers are avoiding stretches of interstate altogether.

Between Memorial Day and Labor Day, police also see an uptick in teen driving accidents. Chief Stark said the biggest danger for teens is distracted driving, and he said that includes hands free phone calls, which can take your mind off the road. 

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