AUSTINTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) – Thanksgiving is just a week away, and many people are getting ready to travel.

Thanksgiving is one of the busiest travel times of the year.

It’s been a busy 2023, in general, when it comes to travel. AAA’s travel numbers are up over 2% from last year. It’s also the third-highest traveler volume projection since AAA kept track of this in 2000.

The only two years with higher traveler projections were 2005 and 2019. Forty-nine million Americans are expected to drive for their trip this Thanksgiving.

“Any time you put more people on the roads, there’s a greater chance that there can be crashes and collisions. So everyone needs to plan ahead and allow themselves plenty of time to reach their destination, obey the posted speed limits, and put down the distractions, especially phones,” said Lynda Lambert-Lannert of AAA.

Air travel is seeing more passengers, too, with 4.7 million Americans expected to fly to their Thanksgiving destination this year. That’s up over 6% compared to 2022. AAA expects 55 million Americans to travel for Thanksgiving this year.

There are some safety things to keep in mind when traveling.

Planning a trip ahead of time is beneficial for safe travel. Keeping distractions like cell phones out of the way will help keep people safe on the road. Lambert-Lannert also advises travelers to make sure their vehicle is ready to travel.

AAA expects to rescue 360,000 drivers on the side of the road for the Thanksgiving holiday.

“Roadside assistance calls are always lockouts, flat tires and dead batteries. You can avoid some of that by making sure your car is in proper working order. So take it to that repair facility and have it checked out before you leave on Thanksgiving for your Thanksgiving travel,” Lambert-Lannert said.

AAA also recommends safe travel times for Thanksgiving road trips. The afternoon hours between 2 p.m. and 6 p.m. are the worst times to drive. Leaving extra early or extra late will have less busy roads.

Lambert-Lannert recommends driving between 6 a.m. and 7 a.m. or in the evening.