WEST MONROE, La (KTVE/KARD)– Thanksgiving travel is really gearing up and getting close to pre-pandemic numbers. The AAA expects nearly 55 million people will travel for the holiday this year. Safety is key when traveling this year because the National Safety Council estimates 518 people may die traveling on U.S. roads during Thanksgiving.

Javier Leija, public information officer for Troop F of the Louisiana State Police, has tips for traveling this season. “The holidays are here, people are ready to get out, and go see their loved ones. So hopefully before they left, they would have their vehicle properly serviced, by that having oil changed, checking hoses, checking belts, make sure everything’s good, checking the fluid levels before they get on the highways. Make sure you have an emergency travel kit with the like water or flashlights if you break down at night. Make sure you have your car jack with you, your tire tools and your spare tires. Make sure your spare tires are properly inflated.”

Leija also gave tips on traffic and what to do if your car breaks down. “If you get stuck in traffic and don’t feel comfortable driving in a pack or among other people driving, just kind of back off and allow a nice cushion for following distance there; if you break down, pull off to the side of the road as far as you can and put out some flags.” 

Always remember to buckle up, stay off your phone, and stay aware of your surroundings.