State transportation officials are encouraging motorists to consider driving during “off peak” times to increase their chances for a safe holiday travel period. Dennis Kleen, with the Iowa Department of Transportation, says this evening, tomorrow  morning and Sunday afternoon and evening will likely be the busiest times on Iowa’s roadways and the added traffic can increase the risk of a crash.

“It’s a lot more crowded…a lot more traveling during those certain parts of the holiday weekend,” Kleen said. “If you don’t have to travel during those times, we’d prefer you didn’t.” If traveling during an off-peak period is NOT possible, Kleen suggests allowing a little extra time for the trip.

“This isn’t one of the easiest things to change. Sometimes, you have to be at a certain place at a certain time…but if you don’t have to, we’re trying to get people not to do it then,” Kleen said.

And of course, drivers should watch their speed, avoid using cellphones, and be careful not to drive under the influence of alcohol. Last year in Iowa, there were 180 confirmed injuries and four deaths from car crashes over the Thanksgiving weekend. That was down from eight traffic deaths during the same period in 2010.