COLUMBIA, SC (WIS) — More drivers are expected to be on South Carolina’s roads during this year’s Thanksgiving holiday season than there were before the pandemic.

That’s according to the AAA, which forecasts that nearly 90% of all Thanksgiving travelers in the US will take a car to their vacation destination.

The South Carolina Highway Patrol says its soldiers are ready.

“It’s pretty much all hands on deck,” said Lance Corporal Tyler Tidwell.

Streets were already packed early Wednesday as AAA forecast more than 700,000 South Carolinians will travel by car during the Thanksgiving holiday, which lasts Wednesday through Sunday.

SCHP reports that more than 1,000 people have been injured and 27 killed in highway accidents in South Carolina during the Thanksgiving holiday season over the past two years.

So there will be more troopers on the streets in the next few days.

“We want to be able to protect everyone, and we want to have an adequate number of soldiers who can respond to any possible incident or collision,” Tidwell said.

Tidwell said the soldiers have four main issues they will be on the lookout for: speeding, seat belts, drinking and driving, and distracted driving.

“Driving is a privilege,” he says. “Just keep your eyes on the road and stay safe.”

While road works seem to be ubiquitous on South Carolina’s freeways these days, the SCDOT said the interstate lanes will be closed for emergencies only Wednesday through early Monday morning to allow traffic to flow better.

However, SCHP urges drivers to allow more time than it would normally take to get to their destination due to increased traffic.

“It gives you a little more wiggle room to get to your destination safely, and if you’re late, the food is still there,” Tidwell said.

These are the times when AAA expects South Carolina’s roads to be at their busiest:

  • Wednesday: 11 a.m. – 8 p.m
  • Thursday: 11 a.m. – 3 p.m
  • Friday: 4:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m
  • Saturday: 4:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m
  • Sunday: 4:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m

Drivers can get real-time traffic updates from SCDOT by calling 511, which is available 24 hours a day, or by visiting www.511SC.org.

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