An estimated 660,000 South Carolinians are expected to travel 50 miles or more from home during the Thanksgiving holiday, according to AAA Carolinas, which would be a 0.6% increase over last year.
The organization’s spokeswoman Tiffany Wright told South Carolina Radio Network that most of those people will be on the roads. “Ninety percent of those travelers, we’re talking about 592,000, are going to be driving to their destination,” Wright said. That’s an 0.7% increase over 2014.
The Thanksgiving holiday period is defined as Wednesday, Nov. 25 through Sunday, Nov. 29. The highest number of travelers on the road will depart for their destinations on Wednesday and most will return on Sunday.
Wright said those who plan to take the airways for travel tend to stay longer. “When we’re talking about flying, while the volume is quite up during the week, as for departure times there’re typically earlier in the week as folks make vacations out of it,” said Wright.
Thanksgiving is one of the most dangerous holidays for motorists due to its five-day length and the heavy traffic caused by the high number of travelers on the road. Last year, 8 people died in crashes on South Carolina highways during the holiday weekend, an increase from 5 fatalities in 2013.
The Highway Patrol is concerned about road deaths that are far higher this year than in 2014. So far 851 motorists have been killed, compared to 720 at this time last year.
Troopers are also cautioning drivers about potential unexpected detours as 69 roads and bridges in the Midlands, Pee Dee and Lowcountry remain closed due to flood damage. A list of the closures is available here.