HORRY COUNTY, S.C. (WMBF) - The night before Thanksgiving has become almost as big of a holiday as Thanksgiving Day and is known as “Blackout Wednesday” or “Drunksgiving,” which means there’s a higher chance of impaired drivers out on the roads at night on Thanksgiving Eve.
Troopers with the South Carolina Highway Patrol will be out in full force starting Wednesday and going through the weekend, with troopers out on every 10 miles of the interstates. SCHP Cpl. Sonny Collins said Wednesday, Nov. 27, really kicks off a dangerous time on the roads to goes until New Years Day, as travel and festivities are in high gear.
Law enforcement will be working around the clock tonight to make sure that a fun time doesn’t end in tragedy. Troopers are encouraging drivers to make a plan now for a safe ride home from parties and celebrations.
It’s always a good idea to designate a sober driver or download and use ride-share apps on your phone. When drivers hit the roads, troopers said they need to be defensive and focus on safety. They’re also urging motorists to be prepared for the increased traffic on Friday with Black Friday shoppers, then the football game on Saturday, and finally Sunday, when everyone begins to return home.
Over the Thanksgiving holiday period in 2018, there were 80 car crashes on South Carolina roads related to alcohol, resulting in 42 injuries and five deaths, according to the S.C. Department of Public Safety. Troopers said the holiday means all hands on deck, which means drivers will see extra troopers patrolling in the Grand Strand and Pee Dee starting Wednesday.
Compared to a typical day, troopers said traffic will nearly double coming in from northern states on Interstate 95.
“Just to give you a comparison, I looked back at a Wednesday just a couple of weeks ago and the peak time on I-95 in Florence, we had about 1,400 to 1,500 cars per hour going down the northbound side and about the same number coming, going on the southbound side. I went back to last year, the Wednesday before Thanksgiving, and during those peak times, those interstates were seeing over 3,000 cars per hour on each side of the road. So that Wednesday before Thanksgiving is typically the busiest day we’ll see,” said Collins.
Drivers can also help keep the roads safe by calling STAR H-P if they see someone on the roads who may appear to be impaired or distracted.