Almost 6 million people are expected to use the PA Turnpike between Friday, June 29 and Sunday, July 8 for their Independence Day vacations, according to the Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission.
Despite the high total, PA Turnpike Director of Public Relations & Marketing Carl DeFebo says there is a silver lining for people taking road trips.
“If July 4 is on a Saturday or a Sunday, there tends to be extremely heavy holiday traffic compacted in that three or four day period,” DeFebo explained. “When it falls on the middle of the week, we don’t get travelers in that condensed period as much.”
State police will be more active during the holiday time period because of the high rate of accidents.
“On average, more people die in motor vehicle crashes on Independence Day than any other day of the year,” said Cpl. Holly Reber-Billings. “There’s a high incidence of alcohol use, which sharply raises the risk of crashing. Pay attention to your surroundings, not your cell phone. Texting and driving is dangerous, comes with harsh penalties and can be deadly.”
To help alleviate traffic, all construction activity on the Turnpike will be suspended from June 29 until July 8.
All drivers are reminded to “Move Over” or “Steer Clear” for emergency vehicles including tow trucks. Motorists can dial *11 to report an accident or any other emergency situation.
The turnpike also has a special connection with Waze, the GPS phone app known for its live traffic updates.
“In our dispatch center, we share and receive data with Waze,” DeFebo said. “Waze is getting a real time look at what’s happening on the PA Turnpike because they’re getting information on incidents directly from us.”
The Highway Advisory Radio on 1640 AM, the TRIPTalk smartphone app, and a live interactive conditions map are available for information.