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Thanksgiving travel in SC expected to be busier this year than before pandemic

COLUMBIA, S.C. (WIS) – More drivers are expected to be on South Carolina roads over this year’s Thanksgiving travel period than even before the pandemic.

That’s according to AAA, which predicts nearly 90% of all Thanksgiving travelers across the US will be taking a car to their holiday destination.

South Carolina Highway Patrol says its troopers are ready.

“It’s pretty much all hands on deck,” Lance Corporal Tyler Tidwell said.

Roads were already busy early Wednesday, as AAA predicts more than 700,000 South Carolinians will be traveling by car over the Thanksgiving holiday, which runs from Wednesday to Sunday.

SCHP reports that over the Thanksgiving travel period in just the last two years, more than 1,000 people were injured and 27 killed in crashes on South Carolina highways.

So more troopers will be on the roads over the next few days too.

“We want to be able to keep everyone safe, and we want to have an adequate amount of troopers responsive to any incidents or collisions that may occur,” Tidwell said.

Tidwell said troopers have four main concerns they will be watching for: speeding, seatbelts, driving under the influence, and driving distracted.

“Driving is a privilege,” he said. “Just keep your eyes on the road and stay safe.”

While road work seems omnipresent on South Carolina highways these days, the SCDOT said the only time it will close interstate lanes from Wednesday through early Monday morning is for emergencies, to better keep traffic flowing.

But SCHP still urges drivers to budget more time than they would normally need to get to their destinations because of that increased traffic.

“That will allow you a little bit extra leeway to get to your destination safely, and if you do find yourself running late, the food is still going to be there,” Tidwell said.

These are the times AAA expects South Carolina roads will be busiest:

  • Wednesday: 11 a.m. – 8 p.m.
  • Thursday: 11 a.m. – 3 p.m.
  • Friday: 4 p.m. – 8 p.m.
  • Saturday: 4 p.m. – 8 p.m.
  • Sunday: 4 p.m. – 8 p.m.

Drivers can get real-time updates on traffic conditions from the SCDOT by calling 511, which is available 24/7, or visiting www.511SC.org.

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