COLUMBIA, Mo. (KMIZ)
Interstate 70 was calm and quiet as Corporal Kyle Green with Missouri State Highway patrol made his usual morning rounds on Thursday. Despite the light traffic that morning, Green said traffic will pick up in the following days as people travel to their holiday destinations.
On Christmas day last year, Missouri State Highway Patrol responded to 11 car accidents, three of which resulted in deaths. Green pointed out three common causes for car accidents on Missouri highways: speeding, texting and drinking. Due to the expected increase in traffic, extra troopers will be deployed over Christmas weekend.
"The morning so far has been fairly uneventful, tomorrow you're gonna start seeing quite a few people heading out," Green said. "Usually on Christmas day alone the mornings are pretty quiet out here, but come about noon you'll start seeing a significant increase in traffic."
Green suggests people leave for their destinations early due to traffic and avoid speeding.
"We realize that a lot of people are going to be out and about traveling long distances to go to these events, so we have additional troopers out to help look for the hazardous moving violations which often result in some of the serious crashes that we have," Green said.
If you plan on drinking while celebrating the holidays, Green said to plan a ride ahead of time. The could mean having a designated driver or calling a ride-share.
"Find that safe ride for you, your family, your friends so we don't end up having another tragedy out here," Green said.
Although texting and driving is not illegal for people over the age of 21 in Missouri, Green said it can lead to a lot of accidents. If a driver is swerving and driving into other lanes, Green said Highway Patrol will have to pull them over.
"Phones are one of the leading distractions in these vehicles causing a lot of these crashes and no text is worth your life," Green said.
Although a trooper's job is mainly to watch for traffic violations, Highway Patrol helps any motorist in trouble. Thursday morning, Green pulled over to help a woman who found a runaway dog.
Green helped the woman contact the dog owner and waited for him to come to pick her up. Maya, the dog, was pregnant and had gotten out of her house by mistake, but she was returned to her owner.