Holiday traffic

Traffic during the Thanksgiving holiday is expected to be heavier than usual this year.

Thanksgiving is just a few days away. However, motorists will begin to see an increase in traffic as early as Wednesday morning.

Across the United States, Thanksgiving is known for being one of the most heavily traveled holidays of the year, and the Alabama Law Enforcement Agency is asking all motorists to travel safely this holiday season.

“The official Thanksgiving holidays begin at 12:01 a.m. Wednesday,” said ALEA Capt. Tracy Nelson. “The holiday will conclude at midnight Sunday, Dec. 1. During these hours, ALEA as well as other law enforcement agencies will have every available trooper and officer on the roadways making sure everyone obeys the law.”

Last year, during the Thanksgiving holidays, troopers responded to 488 automobile crashes statewide, Nelson said.

“Out of the 488 crashes reported last year, six of those crashes were fatal, 124 of those crashes reported injuries, and 352 of those crashes had no injuries. With those numbers, at least six families were changed forever.”

Nelson urges motorists to allow extra time for safe travels.

“When making your holiday traveling plans, allow extra time for traveling,” he said. “When a motorist gets into a hurry, that’s when accidents are likely to occur. Motorists who are in a hurry tend to drive above the speed limit, which can and has led to accidents, including fatal accidents.”

Nelson believes the increase in troopers’ presence will deter motorists from breaking the law.

“During the Thanksgiving holidays, ALEA will be focusing our overtime grant funding towards the major highways due to the heavy congestion caused by travelers,” he said. “We are doing everything possible to increase our visibility on the roadways. The stronger our presence is on the roadways, the less likely a motorist is to disobey the law.”

According to Nelson, troopers will be watching for motorists speeding, following too closely, distracted driving, DUI, seat-belt violations, etc.

“During the investigations of each crash reported last year, it has been determined the leading factors of the accidents were speed, following too closely and driving under the influence,” he said. “We are not increasing our presence to target motorists. We are however, increasing our presence to help save someone’s life. Slow down this holiday season. Obey all laws, and remember what you’re thankful for. That’s what the holiday is about. It’s not about having a family destroyed because a family member was killed or seriously injured in an automobile accident while traveling for the holiday.”

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