Travel period begins, GSP talks safety on the roads - WALB.com, South Georgia News, Weather, Sports

Travel period begins, GSP talks safety on the roads

Georgia State Patrol Troopers are cracking down on distracted and drunk drivers this holiday season. (Source: WALB) Georgia State Patrol Troopers are cracking down on distracted and drunk drivers this holiday season. (Source: WALB)
Sgt. John Vanlandingham is the Post 40 GSP Commander. (Source: WALB) Sgt. John Vanlandingham is the Post 40 GSP Commander. (Source: WALB)
Millions of people are hitting the roads this holiday travel period. (Source: WALB) Millions of people are hitting the roads this holiday travel period. (Source: WALB)
DOUGHERTY CO., GA (WALB) -

Millions of Americans hit the roads on Wednesday, headed to their Thanksgiving destinations.

Gas stations in Albany were busy with customers filling up their tanks and tires before their journeys. 

AAA estimates this Thanksgiving is going have the highest travel volume in more than a decade. The company estimates 50 million Americans will travel 50 miles or more away from home.

On Wednesday afternoon, many families were packing their cars to get out of town. Some people made pit-stops in the good life city on their trips to South Florida. 

But there are still those who are staying local to avoid the busy roadways and high prices at the pump. 

"It's going to be too much traffic on the roads, too congested," one Albany resident told WALB on Wednesday. 

Gas prices this year are higher than they have been in the past for the Thanksgiving travel period. 

Georgia State Troopers will be out on the roads throughout the travel period. 

They said even those staying close will likely be driving at some point over the four-day travel period.

Post 40 Commander Sgt. John VanLandingham is encouraging people to plan their trips carefully, buckle your seatbelts, stay away from the driver's seat if you are drinking and most importantly don't be a distracted driver. 

"We like to tell people to put those cell phones down, pay attention to your road, don't pay attention to anything inside the driver's compartment," explained VanLandingham. 

"What's important now is not this piece of equipment right here.  Especially when you are behind the wheel of an automobile. What's important is that your attention is outside the vehicle.  Your hands are on the steering wheel and you are paying attention to what is going on around you," Ga. Dept. Public Safety Commissioner, Col. Mark McDonough remarked in another interview earlier week. 

During the Thanksgiving period last year, Georgia State Patrol worked 648 crashes. 347 people walked away from them with injuries, but 16 people did not survive, including two in Dougherty County. 

"All the crashes we've had in the holiday period, all the crashes we had last year, all of them were preventable if they just kept safety in mind," said VanLandingham. 

He said troopers will also be helping people whose cars break down or have flat tires. 

He said if you are going to be traveling around South Georgia this weekend and you know you will be drinking, make sure you have a designated driver who can get you home safely. 

"If you are going to get out on the highways, before you get to the party, make sure you've discussed it with your friends and have somebody who is going to drive for you. Again, we will be out looking for indicators of impairment and if we make contact with you, you are probably going to go to jail for that," said VanLandingham.

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