AAA and TXDoT give safety tips as third busiest travel season since 2000 gets underway

Published: Dec. 23, 2022 at 9:38 PM CST
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WACO, Texas (KWTX) - This holiday weekend will be one of the busiest travel times of the year with roughly nine million Texans expected to be on the road or in the sky.

From Dec. 23 to Jan. 2 more than eight million Texans will be driving for the holidays, according to AAA.

“8.3 million will be driving and that’s about a 3% increase over last year,” says Daniel Armbruster, the spokesperson for AAA Texas.

It is the third highest end-of-year travel volume in the last two decades. And with a higher number of travelers comes with higher risks, especially for those driving long hours or through the night. Armbruster says driving drowsy is just as dangerous as driving drunk.

According to TXDoT, 23% of traffic crashes during the 2021 holiday season involved a drunk driver and out of those crashes 98 people lost their lives. Those numbers come with a message that officials cannot stress enough.

“There’s really no excuses these days. You have ride sharing apps, or family friends or a family member. And if it really comes down to it, just staying put where you are. Just do not get behind the wheel and drive if you have consumed any amount of alcohol,” says Jake Smith, the public information officer with the Texas Department of Transportation in Waco.

While the temperature has dropped significantly, a lack of precipitation will keep the roads clear. Both AAA and TXDoT say to control your speed as traffic increases but take extra precaution if you plan to travel north.

“Getting your vehicle properly maintained and have it tuned up for a road trip. Have an emergency road kit, always recommended by AAA no matter what time of year. But when it’s winter time you want to add a few items to that and that includes blankets and coats,” Armbruster explains.

Roughly 300,000 Texans will be taking to the skies ahead of their holiday celebrations. If you plan to travel through a high traffic airport be prepared for delays and cancellations due to the weather.

“You wanna get there early, it could still be busy. A lot of people are trying to fly over the next few days but your major hubs like DFW and Chicago, places like that. It’s going to be a madhouse,’ Armbruster says.

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