By way of cars, trains, planes, and automobiles, AAA predicts that 48.7 million Americans will journey home this Thanksgiving. It is an increase of one million travelers in comparison to 2015, according to a news release.
AAA officials stated in the release, that this represents a 1.9 percent increase over 2015, and the most Thanksgiving travelers since 2007. The Thanksgiving holiday travel period is defined as Wednesday, Nov. 23, to Sunday, Nov. 27, according to AAA.
AAA East Central President and CEO Jim Lehman, attributes increased travel numbers to steady gas prices.
“One million more Americans than last year will carve out time to visit with friends and family this Thanksgiving,”Lehman said. “Most will travel on the tried and true holiday road trip, thanks to gas prices that are holding steady. Others will fly, take the bus or set off on a cruise to celebrate with their loved ones.”
Ohio State Highway Patrol Lieutenant Doug DeBord of the Portsmouth Post, advises travels to depart early to ensure timely arrival.
“The Thanksgiving holiday is always the most traveled during the year, as you may know,” DeBord said. “The biggest thing is, if we are having bad weather, which they are predicting for the Midwest right now. They need to leave earlier than normal, even without bad weather. To plan a head, leave a little earlier than what they think they should to give themselves plenty of time to get where they are going with so many travelers on the roadway. Unfortunately crashes and unforeseen things happen, so we encourage people to leave on earlier so that they can make it to their destinations on time or even even before.”
DeBord said motorists should buckle up, and designate a driver if alcohol is consumed.
“We obviously always encourage people to buckle up. Wearing a seat belt gives you any where between the six or seven out of 10 chance of surviving, so we always encourage people to buckle up,” DeBord said. If people are going to drink over the holiday weekends coming up, we obviously encourage them to designate a driver to drive for them if they are going to be going anywhere after they have consumed alcoholic beverages. “
Should drivers have roadside difficulties, DeBord suggest calling AAA, OSHP, and other sources.
“Then also, one of the other things that I would encourage people to do, if they have some sort of roadside assistance, whether it is through AAA, or some other sources that offer those services to have that number update in their cellular phones,” DeBord said. “So if that if they do encounter a problem on the side of the road and need assistance they will have that number at hand. If they are stranded alongside of the road, they can also call the Highway Patrol, and we will always come out and do the best that we can for them, or at least make sure they are safe until other assistance arrives if we can’t help the need at the time.”
Additionally, AAA officials stated that AAA expects to rescue more than 370,000 motorists nationwide this Thanksgiving, with the primary reasons being dead batteries, flat tires and lockouts. AAA recommends that motorists check the condition of their battery, tires and pack emergency kits in their vehicles before heading out on a holiday getaway. Drivers should have their vehicles inspected by a trusted repair shop, such as one of the nearly 7,000 AAA Approved Auto Repair facilities across North America.
Members can download the AAA Mobile app, visit AAA.com or call 1-800-AAA-HELP to request roadside assistance. For More Information Contact Herman Jenkins, Public Affairs Director at 412-365-7278 or Jenkins.Herman@aaaec.com
The news released stated that AAA’s projections are based on economic forecasting and research by IHS Markit. The London-based business information provider teamed with AAA in 2009 to jointly analyze travel trends during major holidays. AAA has been reporting on holiday travel trends for more than two decades. The complete AAA/IHS 2016 Thanksgiving holiday travel forecast can be found here.
Reach Portia Williams at 740-464-3862, or on Twitter @PortiaWillPDT.