Here’s what to expect on the road this long holiday weekend

Published: Nov. 22, 2022 at 11:19 PM EST
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AUGUSTA, Ga. (WRDW/WAGT) - With everyone hitting the highways, Wednesday is one of the most dangerous days to travel.

It’s not just drinking and driving that causes the issues but the rushing to get to relatives, the traffic, and distractions.

We are in peak season for holiday travel. Georgia and South Carolina state patrols say roads will be busy by Wednesday.

“Tomorrow is the busiest day of the year because most people travel the day before Thanksgiving,” said South Carolina Highway Patrol Lance Cpl. Tyler Tidwell.

AAA expects millions to be on the road Wednesday.

Clay Ingram with AAA, said: “We’re expecting almost 55 million people to travel a distance of 50 miles or more for the Thanksgiving holiday period, and that is going to be the third busiest thanksgiving travel period of all time.”

Tidwell says with COVID fading, they are expecting more people than usual on the roads. The busiest times for South Carolina will be from noon until 3 p.m., and if you’re traveling through Atlanta, you can add more hours. The peak traffic times are noon to 6 p.m.

That’s something Amo Devinney wanted to avoid.

“I’m trying to jump the gun and beat the traffic. And then I plan on coming back a couple of days after as well,” she said.

Devinney says if she left Atlanta on Wednesday, her 8-hour drive to North Carolina would turn into 12-14 hours- and with a toddler, it’s something she can’t risk.

“I try really hard not to get stressed and have panic attacks because you’re not only dealing with the traffic of the cars and people on the road, you know, that’s nerve-racking, but then you have a little kid who’s screaming in the back and might need attention, and you’re driving,” she said.

Tidwell says those types of distractions along with drinking, cell phone use, and not using seat belts, led to high collision numbers over the past two years.

“We had nearly 1,200 fatal collisions or traffic fatalities last year, just in the state of South Carolina. And about half of the people that had access to seatbelts were not wearing them,” he said.

Fourteen people were killed in those collisions in 2020 and 13 in 2021. Tidwell says slowing down can keep those numbers from rising.

“This year, we’ve had 942 fatal traffic collisions. And this time last year, there were 1,056. So that’s a decrease of 114. And hopefully, that can transition to a decrease in the amount of fatalities that we have this Thanksgiving holiday period,” he said.

And that’s the hope as you head out the door; to get there safely. Troopers also want to remind everyone traveling through the construction zone at the state line to slow down, even more so than usual.