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Monday December 16, 2019 Salt Lake City, UT

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Highway Safety

Protecting Utah

Thanksgiving Travel

Tuesday November 26, 2019

More than 55 million travelers are making plans to kick off the holiday season with a trip of 50 miles or more away from home this Thanksgiving. This will be the second-highest Thanksgiving travel volume since AAA began tracking in 2000, trailing only the record set in 2005. Overall, an additional 1.6 million more people will travel compared with last year, a 2.9% increase.

By the numbers: 2019 Thanksgiving travel forecast

  • Automobiles: 49.3 million travelers will hit the road this Thanksgiving, the most since 2005 and 2.8% more than last year.
  • Planes: With 4.6% growth, air travel will see the biggest increase in travel volume during the Thanksgiving holiday, with 4.45 million Americans expected to fly.

Pack Your Patience

Update From UDOT

Holiday traffic is expected to be heaviest on I-15 Wednesday between 2 p.m. and 7 p.m., so leave early in the day or late in the evening to help reduce delays. The weather on Wednesday is expected to include high storm activity, which could impact these estimates. On Sunday after Thanksgiving, delays will be heaviest from 3 to 7 p.m.

Across the state, most UDOT projects will suspend construction and open all lanes to traffic to help reduce delays during the Thanksgiving holiday (Wednesday through Sunday). However, existing lane restrictions or traffic shifts will remain in place where needed to protect the work zone and ensure safety. Drivers should use caution and plan for construction on I-15 in several areas statewide: from I-84 in Riverdale to Layton Parkway; in Murray at the I-215 interchange; and in Lehi from S.R. 92 to Main Street.

In addition, the Arizona Department of Transportation has reduced I-15 to one lane in each direction in the Virgin River gorge south of St. George for bridge maintenance. 

Delays of 30 minutes or more have been observed on previous holiday weekends. Visit http://az511.gov for more information.

Winter Weather Conditions

The National Weather Service is predicting a stormy week, with the potential for snow to impact travel.

We’ve got some winter driving tips below – find more at utahwinterdriving.org

Orange Triangle warning sign reads "Ice and snow, take it slow"
Drive Under the Speed Limit - The posted speed is for dry, ideal conditions. If it's wet, snowy or icy, you should be going under the speed limit.
Image shows cars stopped in snow. Text reads "Increase your following distance, You need more space to safely stop when it's wet, snowy and icy"
Image shows cars turning left on a snowy road. Text reads "Avoid quick stops, starts and turns. Accelerate slowly, brake gently and don't turn quickly."
Picture of seat belt and text reads "Always buckle up crash risk increases in bad weather - seat belts save lives"

Click It or Ticket Enforcement

Over 40 Law enforcement agencies throughout Utah will be working over 330 seat belt overtime shifts during this enforcement period from Wednesday, November 27 – Sunday, December 1st to stop and educate motorists who aren’t wearing a seat belt.

The enforcement period is strategically planned to begin right before the busy Thanksgiving holiday, and often deadly travel weekend.

Extra DUI and Safety Shifts for UHP

Throughout the holiday period, UHP Troopers will work an additional 111 shifts, focusing on the goal of getting everyone where they’re going safely.

During the shifts, Troopers will focus on speed, seat belt violations, aggressive drivers, impaired drivers and distracted drivers.

Travel Prepared

Packing an Emergency Kit - 40% of American driver do not carry an emergency kit in their vehicle. Image shows outline of important items to carry in an emergency kit. List shows 13 items to carry in an emergency kit.

Tis the season for inclement weather.

Make sure that you have a well-stocked emergency kit in your vehicle in case you get stranded somewhere.

To be prepared for traveling in winter weather:

  • Check your tires for proper tread
  • Make sure your battery has sufficient charge and cranking power
  • Test your lights — headlights, taillights, brake lights, and turn signals
  • Pack a winter emergency kit with blankets, jumper cables, food and water, and a cell phone charger
  • Get a brush/scraper and keep your windows clean

Show Your Thanks By Moving Over

Move over logo - shows the outlines of a travel lane with an arrow swerving from the right lane to the left and then has a police car light bar with the words "Move over it's the law" underneath it.

Show your thanks this holiday to those working on the side of the road by following the law: Slow down or move over for police, fire, EMS, UDOT vehicles and tow trucks stopped on the side of the road with emergency lights activated.

Also, show the same courtesy to fellow drivers stopped alongside the road.

We want to wish everyone a safe and Happy Thanksgiving!

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