Meanwhile, Georgia State Patrol troopers and other law enforcement plan to be out working the heavily traveled highways over the holiday period.
As Thanksgiving week opened Monday, the average price of a gallon of regular-grade gas was $2.072, down 74.8 cents from Nov. 23, 2014. In Georgia, the average was just over two bucks — $2.008 — 73.9 cents below a year ago. And six of Georgia eight metro areas — including Albany — were averaging below $2.
AAA Travel is forecasting that 46.9 million Americans will travel at least 50 miles from home over the Thanksgiving holiday period, which AAA defines as Wednesday through midnight Sunday. That number is up 300,000 from last year. Of those traveling this week, nearly nine out of 10 will take to the highways.
In Georgia, AAA estimates travel will be up 0.7 percent from last year with a little over 1.36 million Georgians taking to the roads and skies.
“One holiday gift has come early this year. Americans will likely pay the lowest Thanksgiving gas prices since 2008. Lower prices are helping boost disposable income, and enabling families to kick off the holiday season with a Thanksgiving getaway.”
“Motorists are saving around $11 for a full tank of gas compared to this time last year,” said Mark Jenkins, spokesman, AAA – The Auto Club Group. “That gives travelers more money to spend on lodging, shopping and dining out. For those on the fence about taking a trip, these low gas prices could be all the incentive one needs to hit the road.”
The heavy road traffic won’t go unnoticed by law enforcement. The Georgia Department of Public Safety will be stepping up enforcement for the 102-hour holiday period, which it defines as 6 p.m. Wednesday through midnight Sunday.
Georgia State Patrol officers will be out in concentrated patrols and manning checkpoints, strictly enforcing seat-belt requirements and looking for impaired drivers, state officials said.
“Each year, troopers work numerous crashes that could have been prevented, if drivers had made safety a priority,” said Colonel Mark W. McDonough, Commissioner of the Georgia Department of Public Safety.
During the 102-hour 2014 Thanksgiving holiday period, the State Patrol investigated 676 traffic crashes that resulted in 288 injuries and 15 fatalities. Troopers also issued about 7,000 citations, 12,000 warnings, and made 264 arrests for driving under the influence.
“Driving impaired is a serious crime, and it is not worth the risk of killing or seriously injuring yourself or someone else,” McDonough said. “If you are caught driving impaired, you will be arrested.”
AAA To The Rescue for thousands of motorists this Thanksgiving
AAA expects to rescue more than 360,000 motorists this Thanksgiving, with the primary reasons being dead batteries, flat tires and lockouts. AAA recommends motorists check the condition of their battery and tires before heading out on a holiday getaway. Also, have vehicles inspected by a trusted repair shop, such as one of the nearly 7,000 AAA Approved Auto Repair facilities across North America. Members can download the AAA Mobile app, visit AAA.com or call 1-800-AAA-HELP to request roadside assistance.