AAA, Ohio State Highway Patrol: Heavy Traffic Expected for Thanksgiving/Black Friday | News, Sports, Jobs

ST. CLAIRSVILLE – Thanksgiving and Black Friday signal the start of heavy winter traffic recovery, especially after last year’s COVID-19 shutdowns.

The American Automobile Association expects the largest single-year increase in Thanksgiving travel since 2005. It is estimated that nearly 2.2 million Ohioans will travel between Wednesday and Sunday, with nearly 90% traveling to destination. As a result, the organization also expects congested roads, especially on Wednesday and Sunday afternoon and evening.

During the busy holiday season, AAA expects to respond to over 400,000 roadside assistance calls. AAA advises motorists to ensure that their vehicles have been properly maintained to avoid breakdowns.

The Ohio State Highway Patrol will be in effect as more motorists hit the road.

“As far as the division itself is concerned, one of the most important aspects of the holiday weekend is obviously going to increase exponentially, and with that the patrol is going to make a concerted effort throughout the weekend. holidays to be much more visible, to crack down on the main offenses causing the accident such as excessive speed or distracted driving, or driving under the influence mainly.Especially with weekends and holidays Also “, sergeant. said Rocky Hise.

“We are expecting a big turnout this year. We expect a lot more people on the roads to go out and see family and friends. As we have seen as the year has progressed, people are gradually going out more and more. It has certainly seen an upward trend,” Hise said.

“What you would see is that Wednesday afternoons would usually be busy with people finishing work and then going home or going to family and friends for a long weekend and then down, you would see Black Friday at work, or even Saturday or Sunday of that weekend, people going home.

Hise said the patrol will use federal overtime dollars to keep soldiers on the roads.

“As far as the highway patrol mission goes, it’s going to be business as usual, but the traffic has increased, so we’re going to increase our presence, our visibility, as much as we can throughout the weekend. We want to make sure people know we’re there and that people get where they’re going, to their loved ones, in the safest way possible.

“Don’t Drive Distracted” he advised. “Stay focused while operating a motor vehicle, and if you drive while intoxicated, you will be arrested.”

Black Friday should also be a draw.

“We are really expecting a quick Black Friday,” Joe Bell, spokesman for the Cafaro Co., parent company of the Ohio Valley Mall in St. Clairsville, said. “Everything indicates that there is a lot of pent-up demand for people who want to go out and do a lot of in-person shopping. The day after Thanksgiving, Black Friday, we will open at 6 a.m. and close at 9 p.m.

He said the first 250 customers at the entrance to the food court will receive “loot bags” of coupons and merchandise, sponsored by Trinity Health System. The first people in line will receive chocolate bars with codes on the wrapper that can be redeemed for prizes.

“First time buyers will benefit from special offers at various merchants”, Bell said. “I think we’re going to be back with a lot of the traffic we saw before the pandemic.”

Bell said retail analysts such as the International Council of Shopping Centers and the National Retail Federation suggest holiday sales will pick up. He said a PNC Bank economist believed sales could be up 20% from 2019.

“Part of it has to do with the rise in prices this year, but most of it has to do with people wanting to buy more,” he added. Bell said.

Wendy Anderson, director of the St. Clairsville area chamber of commerce, said small business Saturdays were also encouraged among small vendors after the Black Friday rush. Anderson said there was no possibility of coordination in the city and that each company would organize its own promotions.

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