Football fans will be hitting the roads this weekend with college seasons kicking off. But the real difference in winning and losing can depend upon not driving while intoxicated or “intexticated.”

Football fans will be hitting the roads this weekend with college seasons kicking off. But the real difference in winning and losing can depend upon not driving while intoxicated or “intexticated.”

With Labor Day trips to the lake and other gatherings adding to the busy weekend, odds of distracted and impaired drivers on the road will increase.

Seven people died in vehicle crashes during the 2018 four-day Labor Day holiday. That’s a 75-percent increase in fatalities compared to the prior year, according to the Oklahoma Highway Safety Office (OHSO). Two of the fatalities occurred in alcohol/drug-related wrecks. In all, 490 crashes occurred.

AAA reminds drivers to plan ahead if drinking or using drugs is likely to be part of holiday activities. “Before you head out, have a plan on how you are getting home,” Leslie Gamble, AAA Oklahoma spokeswoman, said. “Select a designated driver for the day, use a ride share service or cab or stay over with a friend.”

In recent years, distracted driving has become as great a concern as impaired driving, according to AAA. Wrecks due to “intextication” kill an average of nine people and injure 1,000 each day, nationally. Game days and lake travel increase road congestion and require intense driving concentration.

“Using an electronic device in any way while driving increases your risk of a crash as much as eight times. Put it out of reach before you leave,” Gamble said.

AAA urges friends and families to discuss how to stay in touch without taking distracted driving risks. “Reinforce your commitment not to drive ‘intexticated’ by taking the pledge at AAA.com/DontDriveDistracted,” Gamble said.