RALEIGH (WFMY) - Thanksgiving is one of the busiest travel holidays of the year and the North Carolina Highway Patrol (NCHP) says it's stepping up enforcement throughout the holiday weekend.
An estimated 1.4 million North Carolinians will be hitting the roads for the Thanksgiving holiday according to AAA.
NCHP says troopers 'will be in full force' on the roads from Wednesday, Nov. 21 through Sunday, Nov. 25. Troopers will be out every 20 miles along major interstates such as I-40/I-85.
“Thanksgiving is a time for loved ones to once again unite together,” said Col. Glenn McNeill Jr., commander of the NC Highway Patrol. “Our mission is simple; reduce needless collisions in hopes of reporting zero fatalities statewide.”
AAA Carolinas says Wednesday through Sunday is the busiest traffic-wise, but Wednesday is the most dangerous. AAA calls it "Blackout Wednesday."
"That’s the time you have friends over, people that haven’t seen each other in years coming back to their hometown and it turns out to be a binge drinking day," Tiffany Wright of AAA Carolinas said.
"Be very mindful, that’s another reason the Wednesday before Thanksgiving is very dangerous for you to be on the roads."
NCSHP will also be part of the Thanksgiving I-40 Challenge, a joint operation among seven other states along the I-40 corridor.
Highway Patrol recommends several tips to ensure safer driving in high-volume traffic:
- Plan Ahead - Expect delays and plan to use alternate routes
- Reduce Speed - Speeding is still the leading cause of traffic collisions
- Increase Following Distances – A two-second lead time among vehicles is encouraged
- Avoid Distracted Driving – Driver focus should be solely on driving
- Never Drive Impaired – Plan ahead; designate a sober driver, us a taxi or contact a ride service
- Lane Clearance - If involved in a collision without injury, remove vehicles to shoulder
If you see impaired or reckless driving, call *HP.
AAA reports there were 2,649 car crashes in North Carolina in 2016, resulting in 20 deaths. Highway Patrol wants that number to be zero this year.