MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WMBF) - Hurricane Arthur isn't our only highly anticipated visitor. A record number of drivers are set to hit the Grand Strand for the Fourth of July weekend.
Nearly half a million South Carolinians are expected to hit the roads, the highest number in more than a decade. Add in all the visitors we're going to see, and you can guarantee spending extra time in your car. Since the Fourth of July falls on a Friday, roads will look much different than last year.
The official holiday travel period begins at 6 p.m., Friday, and stretches through Sunday at midnight. The rain on top of the holiday means leaving yourself extra drive time.
Highway patrol expects the most congestion on Highway 501 between Conway and Myrtle Beach. Last year, beachbound traffic slowed to 25 miles per hour by 2 p.m.
It's also typical for Highway 17 to get slammed, you'll especially want to avoid Ocean Boulevard during hotel check in and checkout times, around 11 a.m and 4 p.m.
Interstates 95 and 20
Congestion will stretch beyond the beach. Many drivers take I-95 and I-20 to get to and from the strand, which means prepare for more troopers on Pee Dee roads.
Keep in mind, visitors may not know our roads as well as you do. Drivers passing through construction spots like the backgate could get confused. Make sure you exercise extra caution.
Fourth of July can be a deadly holiday on South Carolina roads.
Ten people died on South Carolina roads last Fourth of July; that's not even a record. in 2002, there were 21. This number should be zero, and South Carolina Highway Patrol wants to make sure, this year, it reaches that goal. In order to have zero deaths, zero tolerance will be strictly enforced.
Operation LIFE, is underway - to keep you alive. It stands for lower interstate fatalities effort - interstates are the focus, but if you break the law on any road, expect to pay the price. Troopers will strictly follow laws on speeding, seat belts and DUI. Six of ten deaths last Fourth of July weekend involved alcohol, nearly half the deaths in the state this year, the people did not buckle up.
While there will be more troopers patrolling the streets, they need your help to crack down on the issue.
"We're gonna be out looking for violations and looking for those wreckless drivers and impaired drivers, but if a citizen sees anything that falls in those categories call us. *HP, *47. Give us a call, let us know, so we can make these roads safer," says SC Highway Patrol Cpl. Sonny Collins.
Keep from getting in a crash but also avoid driving on roads where there is one. Here's a link to real time traffic information so if an accident happens, you know which roads to avoid: http://www.scdps.gov/schp/schpwebcad/Default.aspx.