ARDMORE, OK -- More than 40 million Americans are expected to hit the roads this Thanksgiving. AAA says that is a four percent increase from a year ago. Last year the Oklahoma highway safety office reported more than 500 crashes which killed 6 people. Kristen Shanahan spoke with troopers about how they are working to prevent accidents like this and keep you safe.
Jimmie Pallesen says she tried to beat the holiday fuss on the roadways by getting a head start, but she has already come in contact with bumper-to-bumper traffic and road raged drivers.
"It's already been really bad, and you just have to slow down and let the people that are in a hurry get in front of you," Pallesen said.
Oklahoma Highway Patrol Trooper Jody Cornelison says thousands of people on the the road mixed with the distractions of the holidays is an accident waiting to happen. That is why OHP, along with other enforcement, will be out in numbers starting tomorrow to keep their eyes peeled for drunk and distracted drivers, and those breaking the speed limit.
"Tomorrow's going to be a pretty busy day for the Highway Patrol due to the congestion and people traveling," Cornelison said.
Cornelison says there are some things drivers can do before they make their journey that could help relieve possible congestion caused by roadside breakdowns.
"Check tire pressure. Make sure you're vehicles ready to go. Check your belts, check your hoses. Just check your vehicles over," Cornelison said.
Wayne Beauchamp says he already checked out his car and just needs to fill up his tank before he heads back home to Texas. He says just because he is doing his part to practice safe driving does not mean others will. Beauchamp says no matter how great of a driver you think you are you have to prepare for other's actions.
"You just have to be alert to the other vehicles coming to you and riding behind you because you never know what they're going to be doing and what kind of condition the person is in," Beauchamp said.
Pallesen says her trips just begun and she hopes all drivers remember the importance of patience.
"Everybody be safe and take your time and don't lose your temper," Pallesen said.
OHP officials say if you suspect a drunk or distracted driver, or have any roadway complications call *55 to be put in contact with local troopers.
For more ways on how you can take extra precautions to keep you and other drivers safe take a look at OHSO's driving safety tips at ok.gov/ohso/.