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Busy travel week anticipated ahead of Thanksgiving

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SOUTH BEND, Ind. -- Millions of Americans across the United States and in Michiana will hit the roads this week for the Thanksgiving holiday. 

AAA says this week will be the second busiest Thanksgiving travel season since it began tracking in 2000. 

The organization expects more than 55 million people to travel, with the majority choosing to drive. AAA estimates 49.3 million people will drive, 4.45 million people to fly, and 1.49 million people to take another mode of transportation like train or bus. 

AAA says a strong economy is what’s behind these near-record numbers. 

Wednesday is expected to be the busiest travel day. 

Indiana State Police Sergeant Ted Bohner believe that too. 

“There’s going to millions of people hitting the roads this holiday season and you want it to be a trip to remember not a trip to forget for all the wrong reasons,” said Bohner. 

He says local traffic will be similar to a Notre Dame home game and to anticipate delays on the Toll Road, U.S. 31, and the bypass. 

Additional ISP troopers will be out this week according to Bohner, but he asks travelers to prepare ahead, take their time, and travel safely. 

“You want to be safe,” said Bohner. “Nobody wants a tragedy to hit right before the holiday season hits. Just enjoy the time with your family and travel safe.” 

Bohner and AAA say Monday is the day for people to get their cars ready for extended road trips. 

AAA expects more than 368,000 of its customers to call for roadside assistance this week. 

They recommend a mechanic looking at the car, but say there are a few simple things people can do before heading out the door. 

Those tips include topping off the car’s engine oil and other fluid levels, filling up the car with gas, checking the tire pressure and tread, testing the car battery, packing a spare tire and the tools needed to change it, and stocking up the car’s emergency kit with blankets, batteries, flashlights, food, and water. 

South Bend International Airport also anticipates a busy week at SBN. They recommend fliers arrive 90 minutes before their flight, check the flight's status directly with the airline, and practice patience.

“Whenever you take and add a lot more vehicle traffic onto the roads, you’re going to increase the odds of a crash and that’s why you follow at a safe distance, just take your time getting where you need to go,” said Bohner. 

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