As is always the case on a big holiday weekend, police agencies will be out in force and drivers are urged to exercise caution when they head out for Memorial Day weekend, the traditional kickoff of the summer holiday season.

Summer doesn't officially start until next month, but after the harsh winter more people are apparently itching to get in some warm weather fun. AAA Mid-Atlantic says that about 754,000 Marylanders will be traveling this holiday weekend, and most of those will be traveling by auto. The number represents a 1.7 percent increase in holiday travel over last year.

"Despite Maryland's gas prices being higher than this time last year, driving remains a more affordable option for many travelers, particularly those traveling as a family," Ragina Cooper-Averella, Manager of Public and Government Affairs at AAA Mid-Atlantic, said in a press release this week. "Marylanders with cabin fever appear eager to enjoy the anticipated warmer temperatures and sunnier weather with a weekend trip."

As with any heavily traveled holiday, you can ease some frustrations caused by delays by traveling at off-peak periods, maybe leaving a day earlier and staying a little longer. Police agencies say they will have plenty of personnel out looking for aggressive, inattentive or impaired drivers, but everyone who is out and about this weekend should be a little extra careful because of the increased traffic on roadways, Maryland State Highway Administrator Melinda B. Peters said in a press release.

"No matter where our travels take us, as drivers, pedestrians and cyclists, we must stay alert and place safety first, use cross walks and share the road," Peters said. "Drive smart, walk smart and bike smart - so that everyone arrives home safely."

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