Memorial Day is the unofficial start to summer, and the Texas Department of Public Safety is reminding drivers in the Killeen area and across the state to celebrate safely while enjoying their vacation.
It also won’t come cheap for Killeen-Fort Hood residents to fill up at the pumps while traveling in the coming days.
Gas prices in Texas and beyond are still at an all-time high as the war in Ukraine rages on and demand is high as Memorial Day approaches on Monday.
In Killeen, gas prices were still above $4 a gallon at all local gas stations on Friday. According to GasBuddy data, HEB and Walmart sold gasoline for $4.05 a gallon of regular gas, while many Chevron stations sold it for $4.39 a gallon.
In Harker Heights, Sam’s Club was selling gasoline at $4.04 a gallon on Friday.
In Copperas Cove, HEB had the cheapest gas on Friday at $4.08 a gallon.
“Gasoline prices have soared to new record highs over the last week but have finally started to slow as diesel is finally cooling off,” said Patrick De Haan, head of petroleum analysis at GasBuddy. “With more Americans planning to hit the streets for Memorial Day this year than last year, prices will be over $1.50 a gallon higher than last year. However, prices appear to be slowing for the time being. While the coast isn’t clear yet, and Memorial Day prices are poised to hit their all-time highs, I’m confident we can avoid a feared $5 a gallon national average this year. Whether we’re able to do that or not depends on whether the Americans curb demand given the sky-high prices.”
Through May 30, the Texas Highway Patrol will participate in “Click It or Ticket” and “Operation CARE” (Crash Awareness Reduction Effort).
Click It or Ticket is an enforcement campaign that encourages people to wear their seat belts, according to a DPS press release. Operation CARE is a specialized campaign in which police officers search for drivers who are speeding, drunk or otherwise breaking the law.
The troopers will also be on the lookout for drivers not complying with the state law “Move Over, Slow Down.”
“Memorial Day always means busy freeways across the state, and we encourage all drivers to take their time getting to their destinations safely,” said DPS Director Steven McCraw. “By obeying traffic laws, being mindful of other drivers and wearing seat belts, we can all do our part to make the streets as safe as possible and enjoy the long Memorial Day holiday.”
During the Memorial Day 2021 campaign, Soldiers issued more than 115,700 summonses and warnings, including 6,513 speeding summonses; 1,860 for no insurance; and more than 1,200 quotes for people without a seat belt or child seat restraint system. DPS also arrested 445 people on DWI charges, 333 fugitives and 667 people on other crimes.
DPS encourages drivers to follow these safety tips during Memorial Day weekend and beyond:
Don’t drink and drive. Make alternate plans when consuming alcohol.
Go over or slow down for police, fire, ambulance, txDOT vehicles and tow trucks parked at the side of the road with emergency lights activated. Show the same courtesy to other drivers who are stopped at the side of the road. So far in 2022 there have been 3,423 violations.
Buckle everyone in the vehicle – that’s the law.
Drive slower, especially in bad weather, heavy traffic, unfamiliar areas or construction sites.
Eliminate distractions while driving, including using mobile devices. Texas law prohibits the use of a portable wireless device to read, write, or send an electronic message unless the vehicle is stopped. If you use a navigation device or app, have a passenger operate it so you can keep an eye on the road.
Drive defensively as vacation trips can present additional challenges.
Use only the left lane for overtaking on multi-lane roads. Not only is it polite driving and avoiding traffic delays, Texas law dictates that slower traffic keep to the right and use the left lane only for overtaking (when signposted).
Don’t cut in front of big trucks or try to brake quickly in front of them. They cannot maneuver as easily as passenger cars and pickup trucks.
Keep the Texas roadside assistance number in your phone. Dial 1-800-525-5555 for any type of assistance. The number can also be found on the back of a Texas driver’s license.
Check your vehicle to make sure it is properly maintained and always make sure your cargo is secure.
Report road hazards or anything suspicious to the nearest law enforcement agency.
Monitor the weather and road conditions wherever you are. For information on Texas road conditions and closures, visit DriveTexas.org.