News 12 at 11 o'clock/ Tuesday, Nov. 26th, 2013
AUGUSTA, Ga. (WRDW) -- Almost 40 million people are expected to hit the roads over the next few days. Wednesday kicks off the official holiday travel season as people head across the country to visit family and friends. But the most wonderful time of the year is also the deadliest on the roadways.
Many hit those roads today beginning their Thanksgiving travel. They've come from all over southeast.
"We are coming from Camdenton, Missouri," said Maria Reth.
"We've come up from central Florida near Orlando," said Byron Smith.
Many travelers are heading hours from home.
"We're traveling to Trenton, SC from Marietta," said Anneke Smith.
Thousands are traveling through rain and even snow to spend the holidays with family and friends.
"Getting to cook together, getting to trade stories that we've missed from being apart," said Anneke about why she loves the holidays.
According to AAA, the busiest travel day will be Wednesday.
"It's the most traveled time of the year," said Col. Mark McDonough, Commissioner of GDPS.
In a news conference Tuesday, law enforcement agencies from Georgia and South Carolina urged caution on the roadways.
"In the next 35 days we know that there will be a family out there who will be suffering a tremendous loss during the holidays as they learn that their loved one was killed in a traffic crash," said Harris Blackwood with the Governor's Office of Highway Safety.
Some will be caused by drinking and driving, others by texting, and many made much worse by speeding and not wearing seatbelts.
"20 percent of all accidents show that a contributing factor is speed," explained McDonough.
Last year 120 people died in Georgia between now and the end of the year. This Thanksgiving, the weather threatens to make the roads even more dangerous.
"I would definitely encourage people to be more cautious especially with the rain and more cars being on the road being Thanksgiving," said Anneke.