COLUMBIA, S.C. (WIS) - As you pack your bags and head out of town for Thanksgiving this year, you’re going to be seeing more people on the road with you.
More than 55 million people across the country are traveling this week, almost 3% more than last year. Further, nearly 50 million of those are getting there by car.
Trooper David Jones of the South Carolina Highway Patrol said Wednesday and Sunday are the busiest days of the year on the roads in South Carolina. This is something that many travelers said can be stressful while making the trek to their friends and family.
“Progressively all night long, traffic has gotten worse and worse and worse,” said Tim Colmer, who is traveling from Ohio to Georgia.
One AAA report said Wednesday is the peak of the traffic for travelers like Colmer. The report said that some trips could take as much as four times longer with commuters mixed in.
“The state patrols are out and it seems like every two or three miles you see a state patrol and people hit the brakes and its like gridlock down the road,” Colmer said.
Trooper Jones said Highway Patrol Troopers are stationed every 10 miles.
“Too often, we see where people tend to get in a hurry and they let emotions take over,” Trooper Jones said.
He said they’ve been seeing more drivers on many roads across the state.
“Today’s economy with the gas prices low and we have to be reminded that we have to share the road,” Trooper Jones said.
He said this influx of cars has led to some travelers to avoiding the interstates.
“We’ve seen where some of them have told me they were going to take a backroad to Augusta using Highway One, so we know we are going to see an influx on the back roads as well,” Trooper Jones said.
Ned McLeod, who is traveling from South Carolina to Georgia, is one of those who opted for the backroads.
“We stayed on the interstate for a while but then it got a little crowded and it looked like we were going to get into some construction later and we were enjoying the colors of the trees so much that we thought we would take some of the smaller lanes,” McLeod said.
Many travelers, including McLeod, have been finding different routes through apps like Waze and Google maps.
“There is always different ways to cut across between 26 and 20...there are several different ways you can cut through,” McLeod said.
Trooper Jones said, while there are other ways, many still opt for the interstate.
“We see different generations. We see some older people who have been going the same way their entire life and even though we may say there’s some congestion they are still going to go that way instead of looking for an alternate route,” Trooper Jones said.
Trooper Jones said that while many people need to use their phones for directions, it’s important to pass it off to a passenger in the car to avoid distractions.
Additionally, you can always use the WIS weather app’s traffic feature. You’ll see the latest congestion and crash information.