ALEA: High number of travelers predicted for holiday weekend

Thanksgiving travel safety tips

MONTGOMERY, Ala. (WSFA) - Wednesday, the day before Thanksgiving, is traditionally the busiest travel day of the year.

AAA estimates 55 million Americans will travel 50 or more miles from home between Wednesday and Sunday. That’s 1.6 million more than last year; the second highest Thanksgiving travel volume since AAA begin tracking in 2000.

Most holiday travelers will be driving to their destinations. It’s estimated 49.3 million travelers will be on the road and 4.45 million Americans are expected to fly this week. Another 1.49 million will find themselves on trains, buses or cruise ships.

In Alabama, Alcohol was a contributing factor in an average of 9.9 percent of all trooper-investigated traffic crashes from 5-day Thanksgiving travel periods from 2014 to 2018. For those same periods, troopers arrested an average of 38.6 individuals for DUI.

During the 2018 Thanksgiving travel period, for example, troopers investigated 482 traffic crashes, 36 of which involved alcohol; investigated seven traffic fatalities, two of which involved alcohol; and arrested 35 individuals for DUI.

ALEA wants to remind the motoring public to:

Obey the law: Do not speed, follow too closely or make illegal lane changes. These are among top deadly driving behaviors.

Buckle up: No matter how short the trip, make sure everyone in the vehicle is properly restrained. (As of Sept. 1, 2019, state law requires occupants of all ages to use a seat belt or child-restraint system.)

Put away the phone and other distractions: Make safety a priority. When behind the wheel, do not text or do anything but focus on the task of driving.

Prepare for congestion: It is not uncommon for traffic to be heavier than usual during the Thanksgiving holiday travel period. Allow additional time for congestion along your route to and from your holiday destination.

Use caution in construction zones: ALDOT will have no temporary lane closures for road work on interstates from noon Wednesday, Nov. 27, to midnight Sunday, Dec. 1. Still, be extra cautious when traveling through these areas, and obey posted speed limits.

Enjoy the holiday: Do, however, think before you drink, and drive safely to #ArriveAliveAlabama.

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