TRI-CITIES, Tenn. (WJHL) – The Tennessee Highway Patrol will be out in force, stepping up patrols to keep you safe on the road this Thanksgiving.
According to AAA, the number of drivers traveling for Thanksgiving will exceed last year.
“Tennessee is going to have 1.3 million people driving,” said AAA Travel Consultant Cecilia Campbell, “which is an increase over the year before for Tennessee of 3 percent.”
Nationwide, that number will reach 55 million people planning to travel 50 miles or more from home this Thanksgiving.
AAA also says it is important to make sure your car is in good shape, as roughly 300,000 people will need road assistance during this time frame.
“The heaviest day of travel will be Wednesday of this week,” said Campbell, “which is probably the day everyone wants to travel, but that is the day if you can avoid, to avoid.”
During the 2018 Thanksgiving holiday, THP reported 15 fatal crashes statewide, resulting in 16 deaths, according to Lt. Rick Garrison of the Tennessee Highway Patrol.
“In the Fall Branch District, we had two fatal crashes involving three fatalities,” he said, “one of those crashes was an alcohol-involved crash.”
Lt. Garrison said to watch the weather, and avoid texting and driving, speeding and driving under the influence.
He expect traffic congestion on I-40, and some congestion on I-26 and I-81. About 40 troopers will be paroling in the Fall Branch District.
“Just like I-40, we’re going to try and have a trooper every 20 miles ourselves on this upper end, I-26, I-81,” said Lt. Garrison. “Of course, we’ll have other troopers out on the other roadways.”
The Tennessee Highway Patrol will also have officers stationed at welcome centers along the interstate passing out safety education information.
Lt. Garrison reminds drivers to take your time and make room for those along the roadway.
“For our safety, don’t forget to move over for us,” he said.
Travelers are asked to call THP with any road issues and call *511 for road conditions.