Stay Safe on the Roads This Thanksgiving
AAA Carolinas predicts that close to 1.5 million North Carolinians and 732,000 South Carolinians will travel 50 miles or more for Thanksgiving this holiday season – the most since 2005. The Thanksgiving holiday travel period is defined as Wednesday, Nov. 21 to Sunday, Nov. 25.
Of those traveling, 90% will do so by motor vehicle. With the surplus of drivers on the roads, we urge motorists to drive with caution and be prepared for the dangers on the road.
The most popular days to travel are the Wednesday before Thanksgiving and the Sunday at the end of the weekend. If possible, plan your travel a day later (Thanksgiving day is the best day to be on the roads) and come home a day earlier.
Over the Thanksgiving holiday period in 2017, there were 2,746 crashes in North Carolina resulting in 1,213 injuries and 23 fatalities, which is unfortunately up from the year before.
Law enforcement will be out in full force during the holiday. The North Carolina State Highway Patrol will take part in the Thanksgiving 1-40 Challenge – a joint operation among seven other states along the 1-40 corridor. Starting November 21, troopers will be placed every 20 miles along the major interstate.
AAA Carolinas offers simple holiday road survival tips for motorists:
- Map your route in advance and be prepared for busy roads. If possible, consider leaving earlier or later to avoid heavy traffic.
- Avoid distractions behind the wheel. Keep your phone in a secured place until you arrive at your destination. Avoid behaviors such as eating, applying make-up and fiddling with the navigation system.
- Keep valuables in the trunk or locked area.
- Have your roadside assistance contact information on hand in case an incident occurs on the road.
- Keep a cell phone and charger with you at all times, in case of emergency.
- Obey traffic safety laws: wear your seatbelt and adhere to the speed limit.
- With an increase in traffic, expect delays and incidents on the side of the road. Obey the Move Over Law.
- Understand that everyone is in a hurry to get to their destination. Utilize turn signals, give drivers space and avoid road rage.
Thanksgiving eve has become a big night for binge drinking, as family and friends return home to reconnect for the holiday. Labeled “Blackout Wednesday,” many times the evening consists of over-drinking which can lead to drunk driving.
In order to stay safe on the roads late at night, AAA urges motorists to:
- Never drink and drive. Have a designated sober driver in place if you plan to drink.
- Utilize a ride sharing service such as Uber, Lyft, or a taxi.
- Stay off the roads the night before Thanksgiving if possible.