ROANOKE, VA – About 75 percent of state police officers will be on patrol this Memorial Day weekend. Police are now using Twitter to get people to move over. The #MoveOver17 campaign asks people to slow down and change lanes if you see a patrol car pulled over.
Senior Trooper Andrew Dayes was kind enough to let WSLS 10's very own Rob Manch tag along with him on patrol. Any officer you speak with will tell you that they have some story of people driving too close them, and Dayes says this weekend, with roads potentially seeing double their normal traffic load, it's more important than ever to pay attention.
Friday afternoon, Interstate 81 was already packed with holiday traffic.
"This is normal for the Memorial Day weekend, it gets this heavy. Especially the afternoon, after 11 o'clock in the morning until four o'clock in the afternoon, this is what you can expect on Memorial Day weekend," said Dayes.
Patrolling the highway, it wasn't long before Dayes spotted someone not driving safely.
"This fellow right here, for instance. He's within a car-length of the vehicle in front of him. Going 60 miles an hour... that's one of the reasons that we have so many accidents is that folks get within a close proximity to the vehicles in front of them," said Dayes.
Dayes says, when he has to pull drivers like that over, it can be the most dangerous part of his day.
"It's happened quite a bit here on 81, where I'm in the process of talking to the operator from a vehicle, and I would have a vehicle go by me within, say two feet from me at 70 miles an hour," said Dayes.
The Move Over 17 Twitter campaign is an attempt to protect troopers like Dayes while they work.
"The law says you need to slow down and or move over. If you can move over, certainly do it if you can do it safely," said Sergeant Rick Garletts.
Garletts says the Virginia State Police are participating, because troopers are pulling over a lot of unsafe drivers.
"Between the hours of nine and eleven a-m this morning, troopers throughout this division stopped close to, a little over 200 cars," said Garletts.
But Dayes says there's an easy way to keep from rushing on the highway.
"Plan to have congestion, plan to have backup. This is Memorial Day, all the interstates across the country is going to be congested just like this one right here," said Dayes.
Troopers throughout the state will be out in higher than usual numbers through next Monday. It's called the Combined Accident Reduction Effort, or CARE. So if you're traveling, take it slow, and look out for troopers like Dayes just doing their jobs.