More drivers expected to be on roads Thanksgiving weekend

Wednesday is one of the busiest nights on the road for the four-day Thanksgiving weekend. People are traveling a few miles a way or hundreds of miles to get to their Thanksgiving destinations.

More cars could mean more dangers out on the road. That’s why Kentucky State Police say you need to be careful driving this weekend.

KSP numbers show that, from the beginning of the year through last week, 652 people died on Kentucky highways. That’s up almost 70 deaths from last year. This year, 300,000 more people are expected to travel 50 miles or more Wednesday through Sunday. AAA numbers show almost 90 percent of those travelers are hitting the road.

Jeff Jay and eight of his family members are just one of millions of families getting on the road to travel this holiday.

"Had to slow down a little bit for traffic here and there, but we’re moving right along," Jay said.

The family still had five hours left to drive, and Whitehaven Welcome Center was one of many stops their two cars would make along the way.

"Every two hours or so, we’ll stop," Jay said.

Travel host Tricie Holland  has already seen hundreds of Thanksgiving travelers coming through the welcome center for the holiday weekend. 

"They just come from all over, and it’s a joy to really meet these people," Holland said.

This year she’s meeting even more people, and she says the reason is the lower gas prices.

Last year, the national average of gas prices was $3.30. This year it’s $2.30, but in Paducah it’s under $2.

Part of Holland’s job is to help drivers who stop by the welcome center get to their destinations safely. Her biggest piece of advice is simple.

"You buckle up and, to drive safe, slow down," Holland said.

KSP adds that you can help the roads stay safe by reporting aggressive driving. Police will have extra patrols on the highways from 6 p.m. Wednesday through midnight on Sunday.

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