Safety concerns rise with influx of holiday traveling

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With the holiday season approaching, millions of Americans are preparing to travel to celebrate with their family.

AAA estimates there will be 53.4 million people traveling this Thanksgiving season, almost a complete return to pre-pandemic numbers. As BYU students prepare for the break from classes, their health and safety concerns vary as they prepare to see their families.

“My family is flying across the country to get there, and my mom is concerned of me driving by myself,” student Heidi Peterson said.

“I am going to Pocatello for the first half of Thanksgiving break with my boyfriend, Taylor. We’re going to go see his family,” student Sydney Orton said.

With temperatures dropping, there’s a greater chance for drivers to encounter dangerous conditions.

“We may need to leave a day early or a day later, so we’re trying to leave a window of time for inclement weather,” Orton said.

“I’m worried about the snow, and that I’m going to hit black ice,” Peterson said.

Some students who have lived in these conditions have a little less to fear.

“I am not terribly concerned about driving, it’s a trip that I’ve made quite a few times in my life,” student Taylor West said.

Traveler safety is not just about the journey this year, as COVID-19 concerns still give some people pause when visiting their loved ones.

“I think I’m mostly just concerned about my grandparents who I’ll be spending time with, but they’re all vaccinated,” student Madi Hamilton said.

“My sister is very nervous of COVID, since we have people coming from four different states to be there,” Peterson said.

AAA’s safety recommendation for this season is to be patient, be prepared and be protected. Allowing for extra time in transit, no matter your destination, preparing your vehicle or documentation for travel and adhering to local health guidelines to protect those around you are among their suggestions.

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