Roughly 4 million Texans are expected to travel this Thanksgiving, according to the American Automobile Association. This includes 3.7 million drivers, according to a news release, while around 244,000 Texans will fly to their holiday destinations.

Across the nation, the AAA predicted Nov. 22-26 would be the third-busiest Thanksgiving on record. Over 55 million Americans are expected to travel for the holiday, which is a 1% decrease from prepandemic holiday travel in 2019.

What you need to know

As roadway traffic increases this holiday season, state officials are reminding Texans to plan ahead, be cautious and watch out for emergency vehicles.

At least one person has died every day on Texas roads for over 23 years, according to the Texas Department of Transportation. On average, 12 fatal crashes occur every day.

TxDOT reported 48% of deaths occur when people do not wear their seatbelts. State agencies encourage drivers to keep themselves and others safe by doing the following:
  • Never drive under the influence of drugs or alcohol
  • Designate a sober driver
  • Pull over if feeling tired
  • Ensure everyone in the vehicle is wearing a seatbelt
  • Pay attention to the road and never use mobile phones while driving
  • Move over or slow down for emergency vehicles stopped on the side of the road
State law requires drivers to slow down at least 20 miles per hour below the posted speed limit or change lanes when passing police cars, fire trucks, ambulances and tow trucks stopped on the road, according to the Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation.

“Our tow truck licensees work hard every day to help people who are stranded on the side of the road,” acting TDLR Executive Director Christina Kaiser said in a news release. “And, like everyone else, they are anxious to return home safely each night.”

Texans should also leave extra time to get to their destinations, according to INRIX, a transportation data company. On Nov. 22, it may take 80% longer for drivers in major Texas metropolitan areas to get to their destinations, INRIX reported.

Analysts recommend Texans leave in the morning or after 6 p.m. to avoid heavy traffic.

By the numbers

Between Dec. 1, 2022, and Jan. 2, 2023, TxDOT reported 108 people were killed and 229 seriously injured by drunk drivers.

Throughout 2022, over 1,200 people were killed by drunk drivers in Texas.

“Don’t turn your holiday event into a life-changing tragedy by drinking and driving,” TxDOT Executive Director Marc Williams said in a news release. “A safe and sober ride should be at the top of your list when making plans with family and friends. If not, you risk your job, your life and the lives of others.”