COLUMBUS, Ga. (WRBL) – This week, millions of Americans are expected to hit the road for Thanksgiving destinations. Safety officials say it’s a dangerous time for drivers, and have a warning before you hit the road.

According to the Georgia State Patrol, 24 people were killed in traffic crashes in the state during Thanksgiving weekend in 2020. Almost half of those people were not wearing seatbelts, according to officials.

Officials with the Georgia Governor’s Office of Highway Safety also warn that the increase in drunk drivers over the holiday weekend can be deadly.

Starting Wednesday, Nov. 23, 2021, state and local law enforcement officers say they’ll be increasing patrols and cracking down on speeding, DUIs, districted driving, and seatbelt violations as part of Operation Click or Ticket.

“If you were caught drinking and driving this weekend or failing to pay attention on the roadway and you are distracted, then you will be stopped and you will either be taken to jail, or you will be cited on the side of the road,” said Colonel Chris Wright with the Georgia State Patrol.

Law enforcement officials offer several safety tips before you hit the road:

  • Allow extra time for your trip due to the increase of traffic on the road
  • Buckle up before starting your vehicle
  • And always plan to have a sober ride home

According to officials, if you buckle up in the front seat of a passenger car, you can reduce your risk of fatal injury by 45 percent and moderate to critical injury by 50 percent. Additionally, if you buckle up in a light truck, you can reduce your risk of fatal injury by 60 percent and moderate to critical injury by 65 percent.

Georgia participates in Click or Ticket on both Thanksgiving and Memorial Day each year.