CANFIELD, Ohio (WKBN) – As millions prepare to travel this long Thanksgiving holiday weekend, law enforcement is reminding us of three important tips: Planning, preparation and patience.
“That the most important thing is that we all take a deep breath and remember that we are all trying to get to our destinations safely,” said Sgt. Bridget Matt.
And with the section of Interstate 80 through the Valley being one of the busiest in the state, that means those passing through the area may not be as familiar as those who live here.
“They might be driving a little slower, looking for their turns, making sure they’re not missing their destinations,” Matt said.
In Pennsylvania, the current “Click It or Ticket” seatbelt campaign runs through this weekend, and police are reminding drivers to buckle up — even if they’re not traveling far.
“A majority of crashes happen close to home, within 25 miles, and at speeds less than 40 miles per hour,” said Officer Jason Burneet, with the Hermitage Police Department.
Troopers say that not only is this one of the busiest travel periods of the year, but it can also be one of the more dangerous. According to the patrol statistics, there were 18 fatal crashes in Ohio last Thanksgiving weekend, with 19 people killed. A dozen of them involved impaired drivers.
In Pennsylvania, there were 124 fatal crashes between Thanksgiving 2022 and the New Year’s holiday, and eight of those were in the PennDOT District that includes Mercer County.
Mercer County Coroner John Libonati said it only takes a split second to make a bad decision.
“Make sure you fasten your seat belts. Make sure you’re not a distracted driver and that you are paying attention and that you’re not driving while impaired,” Libonati said.
While close to 2 million are expected to travel by car this holiday weekend, nearly 250,000 more will fly.
AAA is urging airline passengers to give themselves plenty of time to get through security and other issues as they make flight preparations. Normally, the recommendation is that you arrive at the airport two hours before a domestic flight and three hours before an international one, but this is not the case for the holiday weekend.
“With all of the people that are supposed to be flying this Thanksgiving holiday, it’s up 6.6% by the way, you really want to get there three hours early for a domestic flight and maybe even hour hours early for an international flight,” said Lunda Lamber, with AAA.
Lambert says it’s also a good idea to download your airline’s mobile app to your phone so you can keep up with last-minute changes on your flight’s status.