AAA: NC Thanksgiving travelers will be stuffing highways

Posted November 16, 2016
Updated June 12

— An improving economy and low gas prices will likely result in the busiest Thanksgiving travel season in nearly a decade in the Tar Heel State, AAA Carolinas said Wednesday.

Officials project that about 1.4 million North Carolinians will travel 50 miles or more from their home this Thanksgiving, a nearly 2 percent increase over last year.

AAA defines the Thanksgiving travel period as the time between Nov. 23 and Nov. 27.

Low gas prices are a big reason for the projected increase. The average price of unleaded regular fuel in North Carolina is $2.13 per gallon, which is slightly below the national average.

“Despite recent increases in gas prices, more Carolinians than last year are carving out time to spend with friends and family this Thanksgiving,” AAA Carolinas President and CEO Dave Parsons said in a statement.

AAA says the vast majority of those traveling this Thanksgiving will do so on the roads.

North Carolina Department of Transportation officials said most construction work going on across the state will be suspended from 6 a.m. on Nov. 23 through midnight on Nov. 27.

That said, air travel is also expected to increase by 1.6 percent in 2016, with about 50,000 North Carolinians expected to fly to their destinations.

Airfare prices are projected to be about 21 percent higher than a year ago.

AAA offers some simple holiday road survival tips for motorists:

  • Map your route in advance and be prepared for busy roads. If possible, consider leaving earlier or later to avoid heavy traffic
  • Keep valuables in the trunk or covered storage area
  • Have your roadside assistance contact information (like AAA) on hand in case an incident occurs on the road
  • Keep a cell phone and charger with you at all times, in case of emergency
  • Obey traffic safety laws: Wear your seatbelt. Don’t speed. Don’t drink and drive
  • Eliminate distractions behind the wheel
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  • Alex Stephens Nov 16, 2016
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    Now that's a clever headline! haha