PEORIA, Ill. (WMBD) — Thanksgiving Day is Thursday and this week many Americans are traveling to see their loved ones.
Nationally, AAA projects 55 million people to travel 50 miles or more by plane, train or automobile to make it to their destination. Of that 55 million, 4.5 million will travel by air, but the majority; 49 million will drive.
In Illinois, Illinois State Police (ISP) are ramping up their patrols during the week to keep drivers safe.
“We want to focus on the fatal fours–those would be speed, failure to wear a seatbelt, distracted driving and obviously DUI,” said public information officer with ISP, Jason Wilson.
Last year, 12 drivers lost their lives on Illinois highways during the Thanksgiving travel period, four of them involved alcohol or other substances. Wilson said if you are driving to give yourself plenty of time to arrive safely.
“Please understand that everyone you encounter is trying to make it somewhere safely as well. Give yourself plenty of time to react to dangers ahead of you,” Wilson said.
Wilson said if you plan on drinking don’t get behind the wheel.
“There’s rideshare programs, there’s designated drivers, so there’s no reason to get behind the wheel.” Wilson said.
At Peoria International Airport (PIA) 17,000 people will fly through the airport Wednesday through Sunday between 14 different flights.
“On kind of an average day in 2019, we were seeing 17 or 18 flights so the flights are fewer, but we’re seeing the airplanes a little bit more full,” said director of airports, Gene Olson.
Olson said despite the busy week, overall November and December are still below average months at PIA.
“We see our busy months during spring break and summer vacation time,” Olson said. “What happens in November and December is that we have slow, little below average month for us, but it’s all packed into one week of time.”
Olson said if you’re flying this weekend to arrive at the airport at least an hour or two early.
“Get here early, some of the ticket counters close as much as 40 minutes before departure time so the time on your ticket is wheels up. Don’t show up 15 minutes before that because you’re going to miss your flight,” Olson said.