Motorist cautioned as holiday travel starts -, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Motorist cautioned as holiday travel starts

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By Jennifer Emert - bio | email

ALBANY, GA (WALB) --  Thanksgiving travel is expected to increase in Georgia for the first time in three years.

AAA Auto Club South predicts overall travel to jump by 11 percent from 2009 with more than 1.2 million Georgians traveling 50 miles or more. The Georgia State Patrol has seen an increase in crashes caused by distracted drivers, so they urge drivers to put down their cell phones and keep their eyes on the road this holiday travel period.

Drunk driving, a dash of distracted drivers, and speeding are a holiday recipe for danger. Stir in more drivers on Georgia's Highways and it could be deadly, but the State Patrol is ready for the holiday rush.

"We're putting a lot of our troopers out on the road to be ready for them," said Sgt. Scott McClure, GSP-Albany.

With more than 1.1 million Georgians expected to hit the road, it will be hectic.

"It's a mess," said Dora Williams.

That's why Charles Proctor who's driving to Texas, is getting the jump on holiday traffic by leaving tomorrow.

"We're going to drive all night so it won't be so bad," said Proctor.

Not everyone's traveling, many like Dora Williams who typically goes to Florida, are staying home this year.

"Things are a little different this year, we just haven't been doing a lot of traveling," said Williams.

If you are one of those travelers, state troopers suggest making sure your car is road ready.

"Check your tires your engine your coolant and all that," said McClure.

When it comes to letting friends and family know when you might arrive, let someone else do the talking.

"I'll let my wife answer it," said Proctor.

"Just put it down wait until you get where you're going or just pull off the road," said McClure.

While very few tickets have been written for texting and driving since the law took effect, troopers say they won't hesitate if they see it. They urge drivers to give themselves plenty of time.

"80 miles per hour compared to 55, it's ridiculous it's not going to get you there that much faster, it's going to get you hurt or killed that much faster," said McClure.

So everyone gets where they're going as safely as possible. If you are traveling, you may notice, gas prices are about 30 cents more expensive this year, than they were last year.

Air travel in Georgia is also up by three percent. Flights at Albany's Airport are expected to be at or near capacity.

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