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Tips for Idahoans to stay safe while traveling this Memorial Day weekend

As many Idahoans prepare to travel for the holiday, Memorial Day is the start of a dangerous time on roads throughout the Gem State.

BOISE, Idaho — As we head into Memorial Day weekend - and the unofficial start of summer travel - AAA expects this to be the third busiest Memorial Day for travelers since 2000.

While Memorial Day weekend is a time to honor our fallen U.S. service members - and maybe spend some time with family - this weekend also kicks off a dangerous time for Idaho drivers.

Before you hit the roads for Memorial Day weekend, you can expect a lot of other Idahoans to have the same idea and get behind the wheel.

The Idaho Transportation Department has some advice before you make those travel plans.

"For these big, high-travel weekends, you want to be really mindful of other drivers, and also you know your behavior," ITD Public Information Officer Ellen Mattila said. "So, make sure your phone is away, and you're not driving distracted, and you're driving the speed limit."

Also make sure you buckle up. 

"Because even if you're doing everything perfectly right, other drivers may not be, and you want to protect yourself," Mattila said.

The city of McCall issued a Travel Advisory ahead of Memorial Day weekend. In a statement released on Tuesday, McCall officials said due to ongoing road construction on certain sections of the main route, travelers can expect detour routes to the east side of Payette Lake and Ponderosa State Park in McCall, Idaho.  

For drivers cruising along the Payette River up Highway 55, ITD will have flaggers at the Banks Lowman Road intersection - where traffic often gets backed up on holidays. 

"There are flaggers at that intersection to make sure that traffic is a little more controlled and safe, and everyone gets where they need to go," Mattila said.

Bad weather could also strike your travel plans, with a chance of thunderstorms throughout the weekend

"Check the route that you're going to be traveling and make the road is dry and not slick or anything like that, so that you can plan," Mattila said.

The Memorial Day travel spike isn't just impacting the roads. The Boise Airport is already experiencing a record number of travelers, up 12% this year. 

"As we head into the Memorial Day holiday, that really kicks off our peak summer travel period," Sean Briggs, communication, marketing, and air service manager for the Boise Airport said during a press conference Thursday.

BOI is reminding travelers to get to the airport earlier, plan for parking, and know what you can - and can't take through TSA. 

Memorial Day marks the start of the '100 Deadliest Days,' the time between Memorial Day and Labor Day when deadly and serious crashes on Idaho roads spike.

"More people are out, they're traveling, they're having a good time, they're recreating, they're celebrating - and that leads to higher instances of impaired driving, distracted driving, aggressive driving, speeding, things like that," Mattila said. "So. we just want everyone to be mindful of those things that are going on so that if they're traveling they can be safe"

ITD says it is their construction season, and you might see flaggers and lane restrictions on some roads. You can see a live map of road closures and construction across the state on ITD's Idaho 511

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