By NICK GOSNELL
HUTCHINSON, Kan. — Thanksgiving travel volume will be almost back to levels before the pandemic, if estimates from AAA come true.
"About 90% of people traveling for the Thanksgiving holiday will be taking to the highway," said Shawn Steward with AAA Kansas. "It's a very driving heavy holiday. A lot of people just go in regionally or within state to visit to visit their friends and families."
AAA predicts 54.6 million people nationwide will travel 50 miles or more from home this Thanksgiving. That’s a 1.5% increase over 2021 and 98% of pre-pandemic volumes.
"In Kansas, about 525,000 of the 581,000 total travelers will be driving to their destinations," Steward said. "Pack your patience, slow down and just be extra cautious on the roads this week."
It's also important to remember that it gets dark earlier this time of year, so more of that driving will likely take place outside of daylight hours, or during the potentially blinding pre-sunset hour, if driving west in the afternoon.
"Slow down, drive for the conditions," Steward said. "Don't overdrive your headlights. We've certainly got deer to look out for as well on the highways. Be scanning the sides of the road constantly as you are driving, especially at night."
Some of the busiest driving times of the weekend will be on Wednesday after work and especially on Sunday as families travel back home after the long weekend.