Heavy traffic expected on the roads this Thanksgiving

November 20, 2013 12:00 AM

Thanksgiving is right around the corner, and many people in the U.S. are finalizing their plans for the holiday weekend. This typically involves cementing travel arrangements, but instead of confirming flights, an increasing number of individuals are preparing their cars for road trips. This year, it seems more revelers will be hitting the road for Thanksgiving travel, largely because of falling gas prices. 

"With the improving economy, we suspect more families will be hitting the road to see Grandma or take a few days of vacation," Jonathan Adkins, of the Governor's Highway Safety Association, told USA Today. "It's critical that drivers buckle up, turn their cellphones off and not excessively speed. These three actions greatly increase the chances of a safe trip." 

Hitting the road for the holidays
According to data collected by INRIX, a company that tracks traffic congestion, the number of drivers traveling for Thanksgiving is expected to jump 3 percent this year compared to 2012. Much of the increase will occur the Wednesday before Thanksgiving, which is widely considered to be a "getaway day," the news source reported. In fact, approximately 90 percent of people traveling over the Thanksgiving weekend are expected to be driving, which totals more than 40 million individuals. 

The main reason for the growing desire to drive to a destination is the fact that gas prices are dropping. AAA found that the national average for gas was $3.20 per gallon, which is 21 cents less than the same time last year. If those expenses hold steady, it will be the cheapest level for Thanksgiving week since 2010, according to USA Today. 

Focus on maintenance
With so many cars on the roads, safety is a top priority. There is no telling what effect the congestion will have on your vehicle or trip, so it is essential to receive the proper preventative maintenance and auto repair before departing. You're probably going to have to deal with heavy traffic during Thanksgiving weekend, and depending on the weather there may be icy roads or poor visibility, and ensuring that everything from your heating system to brake service is operating at a high level will make the trip easier and safer. 

Additionally, drivers should plan stops during their trip where they can rest and fill up their gas tanks. Running on fumes can harm your automobile - leading to hundreds of dollars worth of car repair - and throw off your entire schedule. Instead of trying to squeeze every last mile out of your fuel, take the time to load up at rest stops along the way. 

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