What you need to know about Thanksgiving travel this year

Published: Nov. 16, 2023 at 9:36 PM CST
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WAUSAU, Wis. (WSAW) - Millions of Americans are set to hit the roads for Thanksgiving in 2023. AAA estimated that approximately one million Wisconsinites will embark on journeys of 50 miles or more.

AAA Director of Public Affairs, Nick Jarmusz, emphasized the increased risk associated with holiday travel.

“Anytime that you have an increased volume of people on the roads, you’re going to have a greater chance of those incidents (car malfunctions or breakdowns) happening. So we’re expecting to rescue well over 350,000 people nationwide during just that (Thanksgiving) weekend,” Jarmusz said.

Jarmusz also encouraged proactive measures.

“Having your car brought in for an inspection is ideal if you can. They can look at your tires, your battery (and) all the belts and hoses,” Jarmusz said.

Kent Olson, President and owner of Olson Tire & Auto Service, echoed this sentiment, stressing the importance of checking essential elements such as windshield washer fluids and fluid levels. Olson also suggested a safety tip often overlooked.

“It’s a great idea to polish your headlights. Up here we get corrosion, and you get a cloudiness that really affects it. Daylight saving time (is) affecting that as well. It’s darker much earlier.”

Despite potential expenses associated with car maintenance and traveling, there is good news for 2023 Thanksgiving travelers.

“Gas prices are pretty low. Right now, we’ve seen them steadily falling over the last five, six weeks. They’ve been lower throughout the year than they were compared to last year. ” Jarmusz said. “Airfares are up a little bit, but only about 5%.”

Whether traveling by air or road, Olson advised people to be calm and kind during the busy holiday season.

“I would also tell people to be patient, not just with us as facilities. We’re all very, very, very busy,” Olson said. “We’re all trying to get there.”