NEW JERSEY — The Thanksgiving holiday travel period is upon us, beginning at 6 p.m. on Wednesday, and ending Monday, Dec. 2 at 6 a.m. According to AAA, over 55 million travelers are planning a trip of 50 miles or more away from home. Overall, travel will be up 2.9 percent compared to last year, the second highest volume since AAAA began tracking in 2000, and the majority of holiday travelers will drive to their destinations.
AAA Northeast reports that over 1.2 million New Jersey drivers will be on the road, an increase of 2.7 percent over last year.
The New Jersey State Police encourage drivers to take the time to prepare for travel hiccups and traffic, sharing some safety tips. Before heading out, they encourage drivers to consider the following:
- Fill up your gas tank.
- Check fluids (including windshield washer fluid and antifreeze).
- Check tire pressure.
- Bring a mobile phone charger.
- Carry a flashlight with new batteries.
- Bring bottles of water and nonperishable snacks.
- Don’t drive drowsy. Symptoms of driving tired are similar to those of driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol. Use service areas to rest, stretch your legs, or grab a cup of coffee.
- Let someone know your travel plans.
- Check the weather forecast and plan accordingly.
- Plan to leave yourself more time to get where you are going.
The New Jersey State Police remind drivers that the easiest tip to follow to ensure not only your safety, but the safety of fellow motorists and pedestrians this holiday is to not get behind the wheel while under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
During the 2018 Thanksgiving holiday period, there were seven fatal crashes that resulted in seven deaths on the state's roadways. Drug and/or alcohol impairment was found to be a contributing factor in five of the crashes. These types of tragedies, they say, can be easily avoided by having a designated driver, using a taxi or rideshare service, or making plans to stay with friends or family.
There will be more than 88 additional New Jersey State Police troopers statewide during the 2019 holiday period in addition to normal patrols, with efforts focused on speeding, aggressive driving, seatbelt usage, cell phone violations, distracted driving, and DWI.
“Our goal is zero crash fatalities—not just on holidays, but every day,” said Colonel Patrick Callahan of the New Jersey State Police. “We want everyone to enjoy the holiday with their family and friends, not in a cell at a barracks, not in a hospital, and not as a fatal statistic. Have a safe and happy Thanksgiving, and please don’t drink and drive.”
Locally, Plainfield Police will set up a DUI checkpoint at the intersection of West Front St. and Madison Ave. It will be in effect on Wednesday from 10 p.m. to 2 a.m.
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