CABARRUS COUNTY, N.C. (WBTV) - Even with the pandemic, AAA of the Carolinas estimates that more than 1.4 million drivers will be on the roads this week traveling for Thanksgiving. Many may have chosen to go by car instead of by a plane, taking a shorter trip or preferring the isolation of a car ride.
A very different kind of Thanksgiving travel in 2020 means drivers have more to think about. Drivers pausing in their travels on Monday at the I-85 rest area in Cabarrus County talked about taking precautions against the pandemic.
“I feel comfortable doing it,” said Gail Morefield. “I know how everyone is taking care of themselves and I know the protocols of fresh air and not getting close and wash your hands. Those are all just the basics that make me feel comfortable enough to want to go.”
“I feel fine,” said Mike. “We’re wearing masks, social distancing, washing our hands, wearing gloves, staying away from large gatherings. I feel confident.”
Drivers also need to be thinking about seatbelts. Monday marks the beginning of Click It or Ticket in North Carolina. It also means heavier enforcement of speeding and drunk driving. Violators of North Carolina’s seat belt law are fined $179; if a passenger under 15 is not properly restrained there’s a $263 fine.
The good news is that the state DOT has suspended most road work for this week to keep traffic moving. The work along interstates, as well as U.S. and key N.C. routes is expected to shut down from the morning of Nov. 24 through the evening of Nov. 30. There are some exceptions where construction conditions make it unsafe to open all lanes. This includes some locations where lanes are under construction or where a bridge is being replaced. Work that does not impact travel lanes can continue for some projects.
Gail says it was moving pretty well for her today. “That’s one of the reasons I’m traveling right now anyway is to avoid the holiday travel.”
Mike and his friend saw a little more traffic. “Yeah, I’ve seen a lot of cars, a lot of people pulling travel trailers and motor homes, a lot of people camping.”
This week public health officials in several states did mention camping as a potentially safe way to celebrate Thanksgiving.