COLUMBIA, S.C. (WIS) -The eve of Thanksgiving has historically been the busiest travel day of the year. Wednesday, 55 million Americans are expected to travel by cars, planes, trains and buses – the most since this time in 2005 according to AAA.
Here in South Carolina alone, more than 750,000 people are expected to travel at least 50 miles between Wednesday and Sunday.
While the turkey day forecast here in the Midlands looks great, several other parts of the country could see severe storms and heavy snowfall.
AAA Carolinas general manager, Ernie King, says that could mean delays no matter what form of travel you take.
He says even on a normal day, it’s good to head to the airport at least two hours before your flight, but, there’s an exception concerning the holiday season.
“Over the holidays, you might even want to arrive three hours early just because the amount of people that are going to be flying out of the airport over the next few days. Ninety percent of people, over the Thanksgiving holiday, travel by car. So, that’s going to hundreds of thousands of people on the road between Wednesday and Sunday," King said.
He also suggested packing jumper cables in your trunk and making sure you have a spare tire in good condition on hand.
The low gas prices are an added bonus for people hitting the roads. According to AAA, the national average is right around $2.59 per gallon. In South Carolina, it’s $2.30 per gallon. Nationwide, drivers should find these prices are right around where they were this time last year, or slightly lower.
As hundreds of thousands of people prepare to share the roads, this will put some drivers at risk.
“Unfortunately, there were 12 fatalities over the Thanksgiving holiday, last year. Often times, it has to do with just distracted driving, folks just not paying attention and collisions happen," King said.
“So, give yourself enough time to get where you’re going so that you don’t have to rush. With that many people on the road, there’s going to be lots of traffic, road rage, speeding, distract driving, drunk driving. It all happens out there.”
South Carolina Highway Patrol is planning to have every trooper in uniform working over the Thanksgiving holiday. Drivers can expect to see at least one trooper every 10 miles, on every interstate, Wednesday through Sunday. They’ll be looking out for distracted drivers and those going over the speed limit.