Experts expect heaviest Thanksgiving travel in nearly a decade


GREENVILLE, N.C. (WNCT) – Studies show Thanksgiving is the deadliest holiday, so all this week, 9 On Your Side is taking a look at the reasons why; starting with the roads.

This is one of the busiest travel weeks all year long. AAA expects more than 48 million people to hit the roads this Thanksgiving week. That’s 1 million more than last year and the most since 2007. It expects 1.4 million North Carolinians will travel 50 miles or more.

Danger on the road increases with traffic volume, so highway troopers have some advice for drivers.

“Passengers can be as distracting as cell phones and anything else,” said Highway Patrol Trooper Doug Coley. “So they have a stake in their safety. So not being distracting to the driver is important. Stay off the cell phones. No texting and driving as well. Keep your eyes on the road. From point A to point B should be the only thing that you’re concerned about.”

Expect to see the worst traffic the Wednesday before Thanksgiving and the Sunday after. According to Google, drivers should try to leave before 3 Wednesday afternoon and after 4 Saturday afternoon to avoid the heaviest delays.

Law enforcement and trip advisors suggest making sure the car is in good condition before leaving, packing an emergency kit in case a driver gets stuck in traffic and planning a route ahead of time that drivers share with people at their destination.

“Remember if you’re traveling distance and if you have another driver in the car, you may want to stop and take breaks, switch drivers, make sure you get some rest. Also remember that the posted speed limit may not be the safest speed. So if you have heavy traffic or inclement weather, you might want to slow down and not drive the posted speed limit,” Coley said.

Increased travel is driven by lower gas prices-the second cheapest on Thanksgiving in nearly a decade.

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