BAY COUNTY, Fla. (WMBB) — Thanksgiving is a holiday many families come together to celebrate, but for those who have to travel to join their loved ones, the journey can be hazardous if you’re not careful.
Lieutenant Jason King with the Florida Highway Patrol said Thanksgiving holiday traffic is some of the busiest of the year.
“Roads are going to be clogged up,” King said. “People’s temperaments are going to increase and they’re going to get upset quickly at other traffic. Leave at an early timeframe and just be prepared. So our message is to be prepared, be aware, but be ready too just in case you do have an issue with either coming in contact with the highway patrol or other law enforcement or a breakdown that we’re going to get there, we’re going to help.”
King said most breakdowns are unexpected, so you should inspect your vehicle before hitting the road.
“I check my vehicles and I had a blowout coming back from North Georgia last weekend on a family trip so it can happen at any time,” King said. “We encourage people to go through a simple checklist. We have one we’ll provide that they can get from online or through your agency and basically tells them, hey, check it under the hood, check the oil, check the radiator fluid, check your windshield wipers, your windshield wiper fluid, your air pressure, and your tire tread.”
King said besides traffic stops and vehicle crashes, troopers also see an increase in DUIs over the holiday weekend.
“We go one hour away, two hours away, it’s kind of a common travel path,” King said. “It’s kind of like we know what we’re doing, where we’re going, and it’s okay to have a beer or two is the thought process. But then when you leave there and start coming back home and we make a traffic stop and find out you’re driving under the influence, now you’re going to jail for the holidays.”
King said FHP will increase cars on patrol by 10 percent.
They will also assign special enforcement on the main corridors such as Highway 231 to help traffic run as smoothly as possible.