Labor Day visitors expected to increase

NASHUA – During Labor Day weekend, roughly 660,000 people are expected to flock to New Hampshire for end of summer festivities, a 3.5 percent increase from last year, according to the state’s Division of Travel and Tourism Development.

The three-day weekend draws people for hiking, shopping, events, barbecues and more, making it a very busy weekend for travel.

The potential for congested roads, combined with many looking to enjoy one last hurrah before summer ends, could create problems. Therefore, local, state and federal officials are asking motorists to use caution when celebrating this weekend.

New Hampshire State Police officials are asking drivers to plan a safe way home before the party starts and to give keys to a designated driver.

If impaired, call an Uber, a taxi, or a sober friend or family member to get home safely, they said. Call 911 if you see a suspected drunken driver on the road.

“Driving a vehicle while impaired is not worth the risk of killing yourself or someone else. Don’t let this holiday weekend end in an arrest, or even worse, a tragic death,” officials said in a press release. They also cautioned drivers to buckle their seat belts, not drive distracted or impaired, and to slow down.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reports that Labor Day weekend is one of the deadliest of times of the year for driving fatalities. In 2016, 43 percent of crashes during the weekend involved drivers who were drunk.

An advisory from AAA Northern New England also states drug-impaired driving is just as dangerous as drunk driving.

The organization expects to rescue roughly 5,000 people this weekend across New Hampshire, Maine and Vermont for various dead batteries, lockouts and flat tires.

“Be prepared for a high traffic volume and plan ahead to give yourself plenty of time to reach your destination,” Pat Moody, manager of public affairs for AAA Northern New England said.

They recommend drivers inspect their vehicles, get enough sleep and stop every two hours or 100 miles, and stay off phones while driving.

The American Red Cross also sent out a list of safety tips, one of which calls for alerting someone of the driver’s destination and anticipated arrival time.

They also suggest not letting the gasoline tank get too low. Officials with AAA reported that New Hampshire’s average price per gallon is $2.79, a full 49 cents per gallon higher than last year.

After the road trip is complete, many families celebrate the holiday with a cookout. The Red Cross advised that anyone using a grill never do so indoors or near anything that could catch fire.

Never “add charcoal starter fluid when coals have already been ignited,” but do grill as many hot dogs, hamburgers, veggie burgers and other holiday weekend food as one’s heart desires.

Hannah LaClaire can be reached at 594-1243 or