Bars see increased traffic the night before Thanksgiving

Published: Nov. 23, 2022 at 10:31 PM CST
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WAUSAU, Wis. (WSAW) - The Wednesday before Thanksgiving is especially busy for bars and taverns as people start festivities early. That can mean people on the road who may have had one too many.

Westley Messier lives in Mosinee and has seen enough Thanksgiving Eves to know people go out in droves to ring in the holiday season, he says, “I usually go home a little earlier on this night, because you never know, right?”

Lt. Andrew Seubert of the Marathon County Sheriff’s Department says with college kids coming home and families gathering from out of town they expect to see the kind of traffic that would normally be reserved for a weekend. “Obviously we want everybody to go out and enjoy the holidays and have a good time with friends and family that they haven’t seen in a while, but do it responsibly and safely,” Seubert said.

If you find yourself in a state where you shouldn’t get behind the wheel, Seubert says don’t. There are plenty of alternatives. “Either get a sober rider or do a ride-share or some sort of program, or taxi,” says Seubert.

It’s a lesson Messier takes to heart. “I’ve got a pretty good support group that keeps an eye on each other, so if somebody gets too messed up they take their keys away. We’ll say hey, just give us your keys, we’ll get you home safe,” he said.

The Tavern League also issues tickets to participating bars so people can get a free ride home. As a last resort, if you didn’t plan ahead of time, AAA is giving free rides and tows from 6:00 p.m. Wednesday through 6:00 a.m. Monday.

“If you are out and about and you didn’t plan ahead for a safe ride home and you know you’re not safe to get behind the wheel, even if you’re not a AAA member you can call our special toll-free number,” said AAA Director of Public Affairs, Nick Jarmusz.

The toll-free number for AAA is 1-855 2-TOW-2-GO. Click here for a link to a list of bars that participate in the Tavern League’s SafeRide program.