Missouri Highway Patrol warns drivers of the busiest travel times through Sunday

Published: Nov. 24, 2021 at 8:15 PM CST
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SPRINGFIELD, Mo. (KY3) - The Missouri Highway Patrol says people shouldn’t expect too many cars out on the road on Thanksgiving. However, traffic patterns will start to change on Black Friday, especially early in the morning.

Sgt. Mike McClure advises drivers shopping on Black Friday to leave early and be patient.

”Keep yourself from over-extending and engaging in risky driving behaviors such as speeding and improper lane usage, trying to get around a slow person that’s not got the same objective in mind as you do,” Sgt. McClure says.

Sgt. McClure says no matter when you travel this week, it’s crucial to plan your route ahead of time and pay attention to the weather forecast.

“Pay very close attention to the space that’s between you and the vehicle that’s in front of you,” Sgt. McClure says. “Keep a good, safe driving distance to where your reaction can match that of the person in front of you if they have to slow or stop inadvertently at a rapid pace.”

Anthony Grate is traveling from Springfield to St. Louis to see his family for thanksgiving. Grate says he knew leaving Wednesday afternoon was going to make it a long journey home with all the traffic.

“Driving the streets around town it’s already been super brutal so it’s something I definitely have to look out for on the highway,” Grate says. “Hopefully everyone’s driving safe and there are no accidents.”

The one silver lining for Grate, gas is back under $3 a gallon. Grate says he’s hoping prices will continue to drop.

“It’s really tough having to pay so much,” Grate says. “For my truck, it’s about $65 or so on an empty tank.”

Sgt. McClure is urging people to put distractions away, saying many crashes with fatalities or serious injuries come from distracted driving.

“Make a challenge with yourself that you’re not going to use a cell phone unless you’re stopped so if you have to take that text or make a phone call, pull over at a safe location and do it there,” Sgt. McClure says.

For Grate, he says it’s important to be well-rested before hitting the road and trying to stay vigilant.

“When it’s longer than three hours or so your body starts to get tired or you start to get distracted,” Grate says. “You have to stay focused and if you have to make the stop, you gotta stop.”

Sgt. McClure says the busiest travel day this holiday week will be on Sunday. Sgt. McClure says traffic starts to pick up locally around 10 a.m. He recommends drivers hit the road early in the morning or later in the evening to avoid congestion on the road.

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