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Be prepared for busy roadways

The holiday season is not only a busy time for retail, but it is also a busy travel time. From driving to your favorite shopping center or visiting friends and family to taking an airline flight, traveling this time of year brings along with it its own set of challenges.

Those challenges often test our patience, whether it is sitting in traffic or longer commute times due to the increased volume. AAA estimates 115.6 million travelers will be on the move this year — the most in 20 years since they began tracking these statistics in 2000.

Airlines are projected to see a 4.9 percent growth, the largest increase in travel during the year-end holidays. To put those projections into a number, that is potentially just under 7 million Americans expected to fly.

Knowing that number, you can deduce that the number of people driving is well over 100 million from Dec. 21 through Jan. 1. According to INRIX, a company that tracks traffic data, Dec. 26 and Dec. 27 are the “worst day to travel” in most of the country’s largest cities. In Atlanta, the worst time to travel is expected to be Dec. 26 between 4:30 p.m. and 6:30 p.m. Anyone that has traveled through Atlanta at any point on an afternoon knows how challenging it is. INRIX estimates it’ll be 1.3 times worse on Dec. 26.

Law enforcement typically increases its presence on roadways this time of year. They’ll be looking out for impaired drivers, speeders and people texting while driving.

Of course, the traffic in and around Troup County will not rise to those levels mentioned above, traffic will undoubtedly increase. Plan accordingly and don’t rush to your destination. Be cautious and don’t drink or text and drive. The last thing we want to do over the holiday is report on a local traffic fatality. We hope you all have a safe and happy holiday.