Safe travels this holiday

Today is one of the busiest travel days of the year. Everyone is setting out to spend this holiday of Thanksgiving with people they love.

But it is also one of the dangerous times of the year to drive whether drinking or not.

AAA projects 54.3 million Americans will journey 50 miles or more away from home this Thanksgiving, a 4.8 percent increase over last year.

Between today and Sunday, this holiday weekend will see the highest Thanksgiving travel volume in more than a dozen years — since 2005 — with 2.5 million more people taking to the nation’s roads, skies, rails and waterways compared with last year.

For the 48.5 million Americans planning a Thanksgiving road trip, INRIX, a global mobility analytics company, predicts travel times in the most congested cities in the U.S. could be as much as four times longer than a normal trip.

With that said, it is also the time of year when people are likely to have a holiday drink and according to the National Transportation Traffic Safety Administration, the Wednesday night before Thanksgiving is a cultural phenomenon called “Thanksgiving Eve,” an evening associated with drinking and a big night for bars.

From 2012 to 2016, over 800 people died in alcohol-impaired-driving crashes during the Thanksgiving holiday period — 6 p.m. Wednesday to 5:59 a.m. Monday — making it the deadliest holiday on our roads.

All local, county and state law enforcement agencies are also stepping up with the state’s STOP-DWI program to help deaths from drunk drivers. The program is slated to run from today through Monday morning.

So, this year, as you set out on your journey, or even a trip to the store, take your time, obey the speed limit laws and if you drink, don’t drive.

Happy Thanksgiving everyone!