(ST. JOSEPH, Mo.) Thanksgiving is just days away and millions are getting ready to travel.
This year, experts are predicting a major increase in all travel for the holiday weekend compared to 2020.
According to AAA, they predict 53.4 million people will travel this year for the holiday season, a 13% increase in travels compared to 2020. They also say it is the biggest yearly increase since 2005.
With the expected increase, Missouri State Highway Patrol will have an extra presence on the highway for the road travelers.
Sgt. Jake Angle of Troop H said he and his fellow patrol are prepared for the influx in traffic and provide tips to the public prior to the busy travel days.
"Make sure you've kicked the tires, tugged on the belts, you know, you have all those things in the vehicle you need in case maybe you breakdown. Have you checked the air pressure in your spare tire? Do you have your jack in the vehicle? Things like that in case you break down," said Sgt. Jake Angle. "Do you know the emergency numbers to call if you find yourself roadside? Which obviously 'Star 55' will get you to the closest troop headquarters on your cellular phone, or if it's an emergency, (dial) 911."
The pandemic caused many families to put a halt in their travel plans for Thanksgiving in 2020. With the Covid-19 vaccine availability, roads are expected to be flooded with cars traveling to their weekend plans.
According to MoDot, the state of Missouri saw 12 deaths and 41 serious injuries during Thanksgiving travel in 2020..
Sgt. Angle said the peak days of travel are Wednesday afternoon and evening and Sunday. Angle says there are multiple factors for accidents when driving on the roadways and wants drivers to be aware so they aren't another statistic.
"An increase in traffic, deer on the move, and harvest season (are) still underway too," Angle added. "(You) still got farm machinery out there on the roadway. All those things you need to take into account, so that's why it's critically important to practice good safety this weekend."
Gas prices are averaging over $3 compared to the under $2 rate at this time last year. Despite those drastic numbers, travels say that is not stopping them from seeing their loved ones this year.