HORRY COUNTY, SC (WMBF) – AAA predicts 42 million Americans will travel for the Thanksgiving holiday. The same report predicts nearly 660,000 South Carolina residents will drive 50 miles or more for the holiday, which is considered Wednesday through Sunday. With that many drivers out on the roads, South Carolina Highway Patrol troopers will be monitoring traffic to keep everyone safe.
Cpl. Sonny Collins expects that the interstates are going to be very busy, along with the routes leading in and out of the beach. If you are still making travel plans, Collins suggests you'll want to leave sooner rather than later, especially if your route will take you along I-95.
"Typically around mid-afternoon, lunchtime to dark, you will see that traffic pick up quite a bit coming southbound from out of the northern states," says Collins. "And we know from a regular day to that day, traffic will sometimes triple in one hour coming into our state."
And the traffic won't stop Wednesday. Troopers are prepping for Friday when the roads will be busy with Black Friday shoppers, and the big football game on Saturday. Then Sunday, everyone will hit the roads again to come home.
Collins acknowledges Wednesday night can be considered a big drinking night, termed by some as "Blackout Wednesday." School is out, lots of college students are home for the holiday, and people are out visiting with family and friends. Many times, that means going out for a drink or two.
Collins says troopers will be looking for impaired drivers.
"South Carolina is a state that sees a lot of DUI-related crashes," says Collins. "And unfortunately, a lot of DUI-related fatalities. We're going to be out looking for them. But we do need the public's help. Don't hesitate to call. Please call us at *HP."
Highway Patrol troopers are hosting a "Safety Break" on I-95 at the welcome center as you come in from North Carolina at the Dillon Exit. They will have safety materials for you, and you can ask the troopers questions, even if it's just for directions.