UTICA, NY-- More than 54 million people are expected to be traveling this Thanksgiving, but a local travel expert is offering advice to keep drivers safe.
"Tomorrow is the heaviest day of the travel season," said Ed Welsh, Northeast general manager of AAA. "A lot of people have to work and a lot of people aren't going to get away until Wednesday and of course working all day then hopping in the car having it be dark at 5 o'clock, drowsy driving is a big problem this time of year. We also recommend people don't to go more than 100 miles without stopping get out of the car walk around and stretch your legs."
Welsh said no matter the distance of travel, drivers should dress for the weather outside.
"Imagine if you just left your house in short sleeve thinking I'm only going to drive a few miles and something happens and....you have no heat and next thing you know you're sitting there in 20° weather without a coat, it does happen. So you have to be just as careful about your planning for short trips as well as long trips."
This week travelers will be dealing with snow and bitter cold temperatures.
"We're going to get several smaller storm systems move through the area, " said Jill Reale, meteorologist at WKTV. "It's not going to be like what we saw on Friday where we saw a lot of heavy snow it's going to be light snow, but it could be enough where we see a little bit tricky travel. The other big story of course is actually Thanksgiving, a cold front moves in on Wednesday so by Thursday probably the coldest temperatures we've seen in over 6 to 8 months were talking about highs in the teens."
Welsh said that AAA is expected to provide some sort of assistance to 330,000 travelers, from jump starting batteries, to fixing flat tires or helping someone who gets locked out of their car.
"With these new cars many don't have ignition keys anymore and you just get in the car you kind of leave the keys and hit the button and away you go without putting that key in the ignition anymore," he said. "So a lot people get out close the door, next thing you know the car is locked, so keep your keys in your pocket it's probably a good rule. Obviously you want to check all your tire pressure before you go, also a good time to switch out your washer fluid summer stuff will freeze."
Welsh added people should remember it's better to get to the destination safely, rather than quickly.
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