Cheaper gas prices and a recovering economy could mean more people hitting the road for the Thanksgiving holiday this week.
AAA Carolinas says gas is $.07 cheaper than last year, but almost $.30 less-expensive than it was Labor Day weekend. Spokeswoman Angela Daley says 36,000 more people plan to travel by car for the holiday this year. She says the increase in traffic is most likely a sign of economic recovery.
“People are more willing to spend money than they were, maybe, in 2008 or 2009, but they still are paying more attention to where they spend their money,” says Daley, adding that it’s often more convenient for people drive to their Thanksgiving destinations even as airfares become more affordable.
Daley says 15 people died in car crashes in North Carolina this time last year. She says even though more people travel during the week of Christmas and New Year’s, Thanksgiving is the most dangerous travel weekend of the year.
“It's the busiest because it's concentrated on Wednesday and Sunday, with most people leaving and coming back on those days,” she says. Daley urges drivers to take frequent breaks and stay off their cell phones.
The state Department of Transportation will suspend most construction projects until Monday. Motorists can get real time travel information by dialing 5-1-1 and by using NCDOT‘s web site and mobile app.
State troopers plan to be out in force looking for seatbelt infractions and other violations.