Highway patrol trying to keep Thanksgiving week deaths at zero

Updated: Nov. 17, 2017 at 3:46 PM EST
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(WIS) - The South Carolina Highway Patrol will be increasing trooper presence on the roadways next week.

They anticipate a busy week on roadways in the Midlands. In 2016, highway patrol officials say they reported 16 deaths on South Carolina roads during the Thanksgiving holiday period which ran from Wednesday-Sunday.

Troop 1 spokesperson Lance Corporal David Jones tells WIS that highway patrol is working hard to bring that number down to zero. He says distracted driving, speed, and drunk driving enforcement will be at the top of their list.

Jones says they will be partnering with local law enforcement agencies to conduct field sobriety checkpoints from Wednesday to Sunday. Jones also says drivers should slow down, take their time and drive safe as they head out to their destinations this holiday weekend.

AAA Carolinas projects that 2.1 million Carolinians will journey 50 miles or more from home this Thanksgiving, with over 1.4 million North Carolinians and 700,000 South Carolinians traveling. This represents a 3.3% over from 2016. The Thanksgiving holiday travel period is defined as Wednesday, Nov. 22, to Sunday, Nov. 26.

"Despite higher gas prices this year, Carolinians are still planning to hit the roads in record-breaking numbers to spend time with family and friends this Thanksgiving," said AAA Carolinas President and CEO Dave Parsons. "We urge everyone to practice safety behind the wheel. Don't drink and drive, buckle up, avoid speeding and eliminate distractions."

South Carolina's average is currently $2.28 - a 44 cent increase from 2016.This is the highest average for Thanksgiving travel in South Carolina since 2014 when the average was $2.56.

AAA Carolinas offers simple holiday road survival tips for motorists

  • Map your route in advance and be prepared for busy roads. If possible, consider leaving earlier or later to avoid heavy traffic.
  • Don’t drive distracted. Put the phone away. Disconnect and Drive. Avoid behaviors such as eating, applying make-up and adjusting the navigation system.
  • Keep valuables in the trunk or locked area.
  • Have your roadside assistance contact information (ie: AAA) on hand in case an incident occurs on the road.
  • Keep a cell phone and charger with you at all times, in case of emergency.
  • Obey traffic safety laws: Wear your seatbelt. Don’t speed. Drive according to the weather and road conditions.
  • With an increase in traffic, expect delays and incidents on the side of the road. Obey the Move Over Law.
  • Be patient. Understand that everyone is in a hurry to get to their destination. Utilize turn signals, give drivers space and avoid road rage.

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