Millions expected to hit the road in Thanksgiving travel rush

News13 Digital First

MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WBTW) – The Thanksgiving travel rush is underway as millions across the country hit the road ahead of the holiday.

49.3 million people, to be exact, are expected to be driving to their Thanksgiving destination, according to AAA.

That’s the highest amount the travel agency has recorded since 2005. Experts say the strong economy and low gas prices are encouraging driving this year.

Troopers say traffic will really start to pick up around 3 p.m. Wednesday. Volume could increase three-times the normal amount, Highway Patrol said.

But all that activity on the road can become dangerous, some warn.

“Wednesday night is the most dangerous night to be traveling,” AAA Myrtle Beach branch manager Amber Young said. “Only because we have more folks who are off work the next day. College students that are out for Thanksgiving. So there will be more people on the road that have been drinking.”

Young adds its important to have plans in place if someone plans on drinking Wednesday.

“Designate someone as the driver,” Young suggested. “Or you can use a ridesharing service like Lyft or Uber. Another thing would be to not get in the car with anyone obviously that’s been drinking.”

South Carolina Highway Patrol has plans in place, too, to help keep drivers safe and limit crashes.

Troopers will be stationed every 10 miles on interstates through Sunday.

“To be watching for aggressive drivers, speeding drivers,” Cpl. Sonny Collins explained. “But number two, if we have a crash or a disabled motorist, we can get a trooper to that incident very quickly, keep the interstate open which keeps that traffic flowing.”

Cpl. Collins said a wreck could cause backups for miles while traffic is this heavy.

He added that drivers need to be extra cautious in the coming days.

“Because of that extra traffic out there, we need your focus to be on driving,” he said. “Not a cell phone. Not reading signs, billboards. Have a plan and that way you can get there safely.”

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