Nearly 1M People Traveling On Wisconsin’s Roads Over Thanksgiving

DOT Official Urges Drivers To Slow Down, Plan For Extra Travel Time

Traffic on an interstate
Carolyn Kaster/AP Photo

State transportation officials are expecting heavy road traffic over the Thanksgiving holiday.

AAA-Wisconsin projects nearly 1 million people will drive 50 miles or more in Wisconsin over the Thanksgiving holiday, that’s a nearly 5 percent increase over last year’s figure.

A good economy is one of the reasons more people are hitting the road over the holiday, according to AAA-Wisconsin.

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“Consumers have much to be thankful for this holiday season, including higher wages, more disposable income and rising levels of household wealth,” said Nick Jarmusz, director of public affairs for AAA–The Auto Club Group. “As a result, more travelers are kicking off the holiday season with a Thanksgiving getaway.”

The Wisconsin Department of Transportation expects peak traffic Wednesday afternoon and Sunday.

DOT Safety Programs Chief Randy Romanski said while most road construction projects have finished for the year, drivers will still need to allow extra time to get to their destinations because of the increased traffic.

He said another potential hazard for drivers at this time of year is deer crossings.

“Especially during early morning, early evening hours,” Romanski said. “Much of that relates to deer being in mating patterns. Deer activity increases, and as a result, motorists are a little more likely to see deer crossing the roadways.”

Romanski said practicing basic road safety can help keep drivers safe.

He said about 90 percent of Wisconsin drivers are already using seat belts — “but half of the passenger vehicle fatalities come from that 10 percent that doesn’t buckle up.”

Law enforcement will be out over the holiday to watch for distracted and impaired drivers.