Forsyth County Sheriff Ted Paxton recommends the following safe driving tips for the holidays:
• Plan trips early. Don't leave home without knowing the route and planning stops along the way.
• Tell family and friends the route and expected time of arrival.
• Make sure your vehicle is in excellent condition and have it serviced. Check tires for wear and correct air pressure. Make sure all lights are working.
• Buckle up.
• Choose the best time to travel and try to avoid crowded roads. Holiday traffic is usually lighter in the morning.
• Drive alert and sober. Get a good night's rest before leaving and don't drink the night before.
As the busy Thanksgiving holiday travel period begins, authorities are reminding Forsyth County residents to use caution when driving.
"We want everyone to slow down, be careful, not be in a hurry and not to lose their patience," said Forsyth County Sheriff's Capt. Frank Huggins.
Deputies will be out in force over the 102-hour holiday period, which runs from 6 tonight to midnight Sunday, looking particularly for seat belt use and impaired motorists.
Travel is expected to rise for the Thanksgiving holiday for the first time since 2007, according to a report from AAA Auto Club South.
More than 1.2 million Georgians, an increase of 11.2 percent over last year, are expected to travel 50 miles or farther.
Easing their journeys, the state Department of Transportation has suspended all construction-related closures on interstate highways and primary state roads.
The DOT has urged travelers to continue to use caution during the heavy holiday traffic throughout the state, adding that they should remain alert to emergency lane closures or work crews.
Motorists should expect high visibility of enforcement during the busy travel period, according to a Governor's Office of Highway Safety.
More than 500 local law enforcement agencies statewide and the Georgia State Patrol will take part in the November "Click It or Ticket" campaign, which enforces use of seat belts.
Officers will have concentrated patrols during the day and roadblocks at night, according to the department.
Bob Dallas, director of the highway safety office, said in a statement that "patrols and roadchecks are having a measurable effect on safety belt use.”
"Taking two seconds to buckle up can save your life or the life of a loved one," he said.
Dallas added that the 2009 Thanksgiving holiday period was safer than 2008.
According to Georgia State Patrol figures, 12 people died and 730 were injured in 3,809 wrecks statewide last Thanksgiving.