By Lauren Estes
The Cullman Times
Local authorities expect roads to be packed during the July 4 holiday, especially around Smith Lake Park.
Smith Lake Park will host the 4th of July Blowout including music, family fun, and fireworks. The event also brings an increases in traffic for the area.
Cullman County Sheriff Mike Rainey said 2012’s Independence Day experienced many issues with traffic and authorities hope it will run smoother this year.
“We hope that we don’t have the same problems that we had last year,” Rainey said. “We had some issues with traffic backing up, and we will be doing it a little differently this year. There is a lot of traffic on both roads in the Smith Lake Park area and each lane will be treated equally.”
AAA of Alabama spokesman Clay Ingram said the Southeastern portion of the country is the most traveled region, especially at this time of the year.
“We won’t just have Alabama residents traveling here, but we will get a lot of drive-through traffic as people are heading to the Gulf Coast or the Orlando area,” Ingram said, “We are on the beat path, so to speak, so we will be seeing really busy highways and interstates this week. If you’re planning to travel, give yourself extra time to get there. It may take longer to get to your destination and you may feel like you’re running behind, but going faster and making bad decisions increases the chance of being in an accident.”
Ingram said becoming hazardous on the highway increases a road rage mindset and can also cost motorists in gas usage.
“The stress becomes apparent as people feel the need to cut others off to make up time they think they are losing from increased traffic,” Ingram said. “Not only does the road rage mindset raise the risk of accidents, but aggressive drivers also use more gas. So, save gas, decrease your chances of having an accident, and drive at a leisurely pace.
Cullman City Police Chief Kenny Culpepper said the community will offer many activities to the public for the holiday and encourages extra safety measures to be taken.
“Generally, we have a lot traffic coming through as people are traveling from one event to another,” Culpepper said. “Whether it’s a fireworks show, swimming or other events, alcohol may be involved or at the events, so be careful during this holiday.”
Rainey referenced the hit reality series Duck Dynasty as he wished everyone an enjoyable holiday.
“We just hope that everyone has a safe and ‘happy, happy, happy’ Fourth of July,” Rainey said.
Lauren Estes can be reached at email@example.com or 256-734-2131, ext. 137.