Holiday travel tips before you head home for Thanksgiving

Travel tips heading into the Thanksgiving holiday.
Published: Nov. 16, 2023 at 7:01 PM CST
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PINE BELT, Miss. (WDAM) - In 2022, the Mississippi Highway Patrol made more than 170 arrests statewide for impaired driving during the Thanksgiving holiday travel enforcement period

Local law enforcement agencies in the Pine Belt already are making plans on how to keep drivers safe next week as Thanksgiving approaches.

“We get out there and we do checkpoints,” Jones County Sheriff Joe Berlin said. “We try to keep people sober.

“We’re going to do our ‘Click It Or Ticket’ campaign and get out there and set up checkpoints to catch drunk drivers and to keep them from hitting innocent families.”

Heading home for the holidays? Take into consideration that traffic – especially along Interstate 59 – could have an impact on the estimated time of arrival to the airport.

“Be early,” said Tom Heanue, Hattiesburg-Laurel Regional Airport executive director. “We are a small airport, and we only have 50 seats, but there are things that happen.

“We have a lot of road construction out on I 59 and there’s going to be a lot of traveling traffic, of people going by the car, so the road will slow you down to get here.”

But, for at least a week, lane closures will not be an issue with interstate construction taking a break next week.

“Every year during this holiday period from Wednesday, Nov. 22, all the way through the morning of Thursday, Nov. 23, (Mississippi Department of Transportation) is going to be limiting the use of lane closures in construction zones to expand the lanes of traffic,” said David Kenney, MDOT Public Information Officer. “We want to have a maximum capacity and minimal construction delays during the Thanksgiving holiday travel period.”

Distracted driving ranks as the number one reason for car accidents in the United States.

“Research has shown that if you take your eyes off the road for 4.5 second, that’s like driving the length of a football field with basically your eyes closed” Kenney said.

The Hattiesburg-Laurel Regional Airport will be introducing Transportation Security Administration pre-check registration the week after Thanksgiving, where passengers can go through an application program that allows United States citizens and legal permanent residents to apply for an expedited screening.

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