Historically, Thanksgiving is one of the busiest travel holidays in America. This year AAA estimates that 49.1 million people will travel to their Thanksgiving destination by car, just below pre-COVID travel volumes (49.9 million). The Mississippi Department of Transportation reminds motorists to avoid distractions and buckle up.
“As Thanksgiving travel numbers increase each year, that means there will be more motorists on the road with you,” said Brad White, MDOT executive director. “Motorists should watch their speeds and obey all traffic laws to ensure they make it safely to their holiday destinations.”
No matter how many vehicles are on Mississippi highways, drivers should avoid driving distracted. Research shows sending or receiving text messages takes a driver’s eyes off the road for an average of 4.6 seconds, the equivalent – at 55 miles per hour – of traveling the length of a football field blind. Drivers who use a hand-held device are four times more likely to get into a serious crash.
“It only takes a second for a distraction to cause a wreck and possible injury,” White said. “Don’t let text messages and phone calls take your attention. They can wait. If it’s urgent, find a safe place to stop or have a passenger assist.”
No matter your Thanksgiving destination, safety should be your top priority. MDOT offers these tips for safe driving this Thanksgiving:
- Plan ahead. The MDOT Traffic mobile app shows real-time road conditions along your travel route.
- Get plenty of rest before driving. Remember to plan frequent stops if traveling long distances.
- Buckle up. Seat belt use is one of the easiest and most effective ways to save lives and reduce injuries from a possible crash.
- Always use caution in work zones. Roadside workers also want to make it home safely to their families for the holidays.
- Watch out for wildlife. Cooler temperatures mean deer and other wildlife are more active near highways. Use extra caution if traveling during dusk and dawn.
- Do not drive impaired. If you plan to drink, make sure you have a designated driver.
To help keep traffic moving, MDOT crews and contractors will limit road construction requiring lane closures beginning the afternoon of Wednesday, Nov. 22, through the morning of Monday, Nov. 27. All construction will halt Thursday, Nov. 23. This will provide maximum travel capacity and minimal construction delays to motorists traveling throughout the state during the holiday weekend.
“Even though most highway construction will halt across the state, motorists should be aware that some lane closures will remain in place,” said White. “Lane closures are there to protect motorists, and MDOT urges drivers to treat these areas as active work zones.”
For more tips on traveling safe this holiday season, visit GoMDOT.com/drivesmartms.
Stay updated and get live travel information by downloading the free MDOT Traffic app or visit MDOTtraffic.com.