What to expect for Thanksgiving travel

JACKSON, Tenn. — With Thanksgiving approaching, people are hitting the road to see friends and family, and the Tennessee Department of Transportation is making sure drivers are staying safe with the extra traffic on the roads.

Nichole Lawrence with TDOT says with the pandemic affecting holiday plans in 2020, you can expect to see more traffic this year.

“We do expect to see more travelers out and about this holiday season visiting family and friends,” Lawrence said. “We stress to everyone to be careful, don’t drive distracted, and please plan ahead.”

Celia Brinlee and her family are travelling from Oklahoma to Nashville, and says so far the traffic has been manageable.

“The traffic was surprisingly light,” Brinlee said. “We thought it would be a little more crowded with it being Thanksgiving but it has been smooth sailing since we left.”

Brinlee says they have not seen their family in Nashville due to the pandemic and are excited to finally get together.

“We feel great about it. We haven’t seen them in about two years so we are really happy to get to go visit and spend some time,” said Brinlee.

Gary Phillips traveled from Dallas, Texas to spend the holidays with family in Jackson. He says drivers should be cautious of their speed, especially in Tennessee.

“Y’all have a bunch of state troopers,” Phillips said. “They are at every little bit, so I guess they are trying to keep it safe. That is the only place I have really seen them and I have seen about 30 of them since I came through Memphis.”

Lawrence says the best way for drivers to plan their route is with the TDOT SmartWay map. This shows traffic, accidents, and construction in real time.

For those traveling outside of Tennessee, you can find a similar map for Arkansas called IDrive ArkansasGoKY for Kentucky travelers, and MDOTtraffic for Mississippi travelers.

Lawerence also says road work construction will be suspended for the holidays.

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