SC Highway Patrol and AAA say leave early and be patient for Christmas travel


CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCBD)- The South Carolina Highway Patrol and AAA Carolinas both say that holiday traffic will be heavier through New Year’s Day.

“I think we’re going to see more people on the roads. Some people don’t have the ability to get off during the week, but they’re off on weekends,” said Tiffany Wright, a Spokesperson for AAA Carolinas.

Wright attributes the increase in travelers to both Christmas Day and New Year’s Eve being on weekends.

Travel surveys indicate that the most popular days to travel for Christmas are December 22 and 23. This year the most popular day to return home is Tuesday December 28. If you’re driving on December 23, the best time to leave is after 7 p.m. according to Wright.

“But as we inch closer and closer to the holiday, anytime before noon would be your best bet. Basically, the early bird gets the worm. The earlier you can hit the roadways the less likely you’ll encounter a ton of traffic,” said Wright.

Trooper Nick Pye with the South Carolina Highway Patrol says that being patient with other drivers is the best way to avoid collisions. Putting down phones and wearing your seatbelt are two other measures to keep everybody safe.

“It’s important to give yourself enough time to get where you’re going and make sure your vehicle is in good working order,” said Pye.

With drinks being served at many holiday parties for Christmas and New Year’s Eve, Pye has a reminder for motorists.

“The last time I checked Lyft, Uber and taxis are still available at all times of the day. If you’re going to drink no matter what time it is just make a smart decision,” said Pye.

Pye says that he has pulled over people who are intoxicated no matter the time of day.

“Most people are going to consume alcohol in the evening hours. With that being said, we work DUI related collisions 24/7,” said Pye. “A lot of people don’t understand that if you stay up until one, two, three o’clock in the morning drinking alcohol and then get up early the next day you can still be under the influence.”

Highway Patrol and AAA Carolinas suggest doing a pre-trip check of your car and suggest bringing water, snacks and emergency funds for repairs on your trip.

“Make sure they’re checking the condition of your battery, your tires, your fluids and your windshield wiper blades,” said Wright.

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