Travelers hit the road | News


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LONGMEADOW, MA (WGGB/WSHM)–The holiday weekend is coming to a close and many people are heading home tonight after spending Thanksgiving with their family and friends.

AAA predicted Sunday was one of the busiest travel days of the season and that when all is said and done, more than 53 million people will have traveled this holiday weekend. Despite the busy roadways, things seemed to be moving pretty smoothly for most drivers I spoke with. But one driver did not have such a smooth ride home.

“Lot of crashes, a lot of people pulled over, much more than I’ve ever seen personally on this drive,” said Graham Atherton, who was traveling to Boston.

Atherton spent the Holiday weekend in Cleveland, Ohio. He hit the road at around 9:00 Sunday morning. He told Western Mass News his drive was pretty hectic.

AAA told us they expected an uptick in crashes like graham saw on his way home from Ohio.

“We know through past experience that people are definitely more likely to get into a collision this time of year mainly because of an increase in impaired driving…We anticipate because of the higher traffic volume, more service calls, so we expect about 400 thousand calls for roadside assistance during the holiday period, which is a substantial number of calls,” said Mark Schieldrop AAA Northeast spokesperson.

The number of people they expect to travel across the US:

“We were expecting about 53.4 million people to travel this holiday,” explained Schieldrop.

That translates to about 90% volume compared to pre-pandemic levels in 2019.

Schieldrop told Western Mass News there was a rebound in travel this year. But more people on the roads also means more traffic and safety concerns. Despite the busy roadways, Schieldrop said things seem to be moving smoothly, something travelers stopped at the Ludlow Rest Stop confirm.

“Traffic hasn’t been bad. I think we’re behind the traffic now and on the way up it wasn’t too bad either, so I think we got lucky,” said Noel Faddem of Duxbury.

“It hasn’t been too bad. It slowed down a couple different places, but as long as it’s not stopped, I’m happy with it,” said Amelia Blanch, who was headed to Shrewsbury.

Schieldrop added that with parts of western Mass. expecting some snow showers Sunday night, drivers have to change their habits this time of year, which means slowing down. he also said now is a good time to get winter tires if you haven’t already to give you better handling and stopping distances this season.

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