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Missourians hit the road this holiday season

This holiday, more Missourians will be hitting the road, paving the way for more chances of danger, according to the Missouri State Highway Patrol.

According to AAA, 97 million Americans are expected to drive to their holiday destinations this year.

“I’m heading to Kansas City to see my family and spend time with my grandparents and my brother and my sister,” Holts Summit resident Nicholas Elder told ABC 17 News Friday.

The chance for winter weather is expected overnight Saturday into Christmas Eve Sunday in mid-Missouri, prompting MoDOT and public works crews to keep a close eye on the forecast.

Friday MoDOT central district crews pretreated bridges in anticipation of the weather. Paul T. Denkler, assistant district maintenance engineer, said a crew was coming in at 3 a.m. to evaluate the road conditions.

Columbia Public Works plans to have an eight-person crew on call on Sunday.

“I heard some chances for some snow on Sunday, but besides that I’m not really worried,” said Elder, who plans to travel back to mid-Missouri on Sunday.

More troopers will also be on the road for the holiday weekend.

ABC 17 News rode along with State Trooper Derek Shikles Friday and learned there have been 895 deadly crashes so far this year in comparison to last year’s number of 927.

45 of the 895 vehicle fatalities that occurred in Missouri this year happened this month and 59 of last year’s happened in the month of December.

Troopers say they are happy to see a decrease in fatal crashes so far this year, but the year is not over yet.

“Traffic accidents, fatality accidents is such a tough situation all around. You know, nobody wants a loved one to be killed in a car crash. Having to deliver the bad news to a family member or a spouse is tough deal,” Shikles said.

ABC 17 News reported one crash that happened on I-70 Friday morning, and although there were no injuries involved, law enforcement officials stress the use of seat belts and keeping a safe distance from one car to another.

Another safety tip law enforcement officers stress is to stay off your phone. Distracted driving continues to be a huge problem, Shikles said.

Shikles also told ABC 17 News everyone is trying to get home for the holidays, or any other night, so it’s critical that every driver is mindful of what they’re doing.

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