While COVID precautions are putting a halt to many Thanksgiving travel plans, many people will still be on the road in the coming days.
Oklahoma Highway Patrol and AAA say just because there may not be as many folks traveling this year, you still need to be safe.
AAA says travel will be down this year, but most people who are traveling are doing so by car. The National Safety Council estimates nearly 500 people in the U.S. will die on the road this Thanksgiving holiday period, and about 55,000 will be hurt. OHP says now more than ever, it's important to drive safely.
"With the ICU levels the way that they're at right now, we don't want people to be in the hospital. We don't want to take up a bed for that if there may be a COVID patient waiting on that bed," said OHP Trooper Mark Southall.
Southall said OHP will be out on the highways as much as possible over the next several days, watching for speeding and distracted drivers. He said drive defensively and pay attention to other cars around you. That message is echoed by AAA’s Mark Madeja.
"We're all struggling with COVID stress and anxiety, but on the road is not the place to take that attitude. We still need to be nice to each other, cautious, not in a hurry, and do all those driver safety things that are going to keep us all alive this Thanksgiving," said Madeja.
OHP says deaths in Oklahoma during this period have gone down in recent years, and they're hoping that trend continues this year. AAA wants to remind people that if alcohol is involved at your gathering, make sure you have a safe way to get home.