Albany -- Georgia's Christmas holiday traffic period has just begun, and new national travel records are expected to be set. State officials fear this could be a deadly Christmas Holiday on Georgia roads.
Travel experts say Georgia's roads Friday night will be packed, as many people head off to start a long Christmas Holiday weekend. AAA Auto Club projects almost 1.7 million travelers will be on Georgia's roads this holiday period.
They expect thousands of families to be traveling to Florida vacation sites, passing through South Georgia. Georgia State Patrol Corporal Kevin Rexroat said "the abundance of traffic traveling to and from Florida, as well as our local citizens here in the state, is tremendous. It's almost double if not triple."
Georgia State Patrol officials have predicted more deaths this Christmas Holiday than last year, because of the heavy volume of traffic. GSP predicts 13 people will die in traffic crashes before midnight Monday, two more than died on Georgia roads last Christmas. With the rain, Troopers are worried that prediction could actually be low. Trooper Jamie Sullivan said "with this weather coming in like this, there is a chance it could be higher. We want people to think about that."
The heavy volume of traffic has Troopers busy with violators. Corporal Kevin Rexroat came to South Georgia from Atlanta to help. Rexroat said "the weather, very poor visibility on the Interstate now, so I've come down here to try to assist some of the Troopers locally here."
Troopers urge drivers to keep their attention on the road, not the holiday plans, and wear your seat belt. Sullivan said "we want everybody to buckle up. I can make no excuses about buckling up. Seat belts are important, they make a difference."
Triple-A projects an increase of more than two percent in auto travel over last year's Christmas Holiday period, which set a new national record.