Tips for traveling safely this Thanksgiving

BECKLEY, WV (WOAY) – The holiday travel surge hits Southern West Virginia.

Sergeant Jamie Wilhite with the Beckley Police Department expects Thanksgiving traffic to be heavy with the recent easing of COVID-19 travel restrictions.

“Expectations are for traffic and people to be out more than they were the last year or two,” Wilhite said.

AAA predicts more than 53 million people to travel for Thanksgiving this year, a 13% increase from 2020. Wilhite urges drivers to be extra cautious on the roads, which will likely be more crowded than usual.

“You’ve got to give yourself time,” Wilhite said. “You’ve got to allow for those delays. First and foremost, buckle up.”

Wilhite says because of the increase in traffic, drivers can expect more law enforcement out on patrols throughout the weekend. They’re going to be looking specifically for distraction and speeding infractions.

“Slow down,” Wilhite said. “Take your time. And then distractions. Cell phone, we all know the problems with that. Just put it down while you’re on the roadway.”

Wilhite says Beckley has already seen an boost in traffic so far this week. He knows it’s crucial for law enforcement to do everything possible to keep drivers safe with the roads jam-packed this week.

“There will be officers out and hopefully we won’t have to deal with that,” Wilhite said.

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