Authorities are reminding travelers to slow down and stay focused on the road while driving over the Thanksgiving holiday weekend.
The 102-hour holiday travel period begins at 6 tonight and ends at midnight Sunday. The number of wrecks typically increases this time of year, said Lt. Bill Franco of the Forsyth County Sheriff’s Office.
“Mainly because driver’s minds are somewhere else than on the roadway,” Franco said. “So [the deputies] are going to be out there doing the best they can to try and keep those numbers down and keep our roadways safe.”
Increased traffic will cause more deputies to work than on a typical day. They’ll be patrolling for speeding and aggressive driving in hopes of reducing crashes, as well as seatbelt use, Franco said.
Specialized traffic units will be on the roads too, looking for aggressive or impaired drivers, he said, particularly at night.
During the day, deputies will focus more on traffic control, especially during the Thanksgiving Day road races and holiday shopping congestion.
“On Black Friday, parking lots will be an important area [of concern],” Franco said. “The important thing is for people to stay patient … and try to be courteous, which typically our citizens here in Forsyth are.”
In case of rain or snow, drivers should pay close attention to the condition of their tires.
“People don’t really consider checking the tread on their tires often, but unevenly worn tread on tires can actually cause accidents or people to lose traction in rainy weather,” he said. “Of course in ice, everyone’s going to lose traction.”
The Georgia State Patrol will also be out in force during the holiday period in an effort to keep the number of traffic crashes, injuries and fatalities as low as possible, said Col. Mark W. McDonough, commissioner of the Georgia Department of Public Safety.
“We know from past experience that speed, alcohol and failing to use seat belts are the primary contributing factors in fatal crashes,” he said.
Last year, troopers investigated 682 traffic crashes across the state that resulted in 380 injuries and 11 fatalities. Statewide, law enforcement officers investigated a total 3,590 crashes that resulted in 1,161 injuries and 21 fatalities.
Traffic is expected to be heavy on Georgia roads throughout the holiday weekend, so state troopers reminded drivers to make safety a priority.