More Holiday Travelers Expected This Thanksgiving

In South Dakota 142,500 people will travel at least 50 miles from home

Whether it’s going to grandma’s house or your mother in-laws, 142,500 people in the South Dakota will travel 50 miles or more this thanksgiving holiday.

According to AAA, 6,345 will fly this year, including Larry and Gayl Fenton who are traveling from Sioux Falls to Chicago to visit family.

“We used to drive but, there was frequently icy roads, snow storms, just the night before we were to leave,” says Larry.

“We had to miss trips and disappoint people in Chicago,” adds Gayl.

But the majority, 90 percent of South Dakotans will drive.

“Gas is pretty cheap right now, so it’s the right time to go,” says Ross Horning. “I’m [driving] to Watertown to see my brother, mom and dad, brother’s girlfriend, show off my two year old son.”

AAA is expecting 135,800 people will be out on the roads this weekend.

And that doesn’t include those from out of state that are traveling through, like Steve Anderson.

“I went over to Standing Rock, I was there for about a month and now I’m on my way home for the holidays,” says Anderson.

Home being Apopka, Florida.

Anderson is making the trek on his motorcycle.

“You have really big deer here, I was worried about them,” says Anderson.

But that’s not his biggest concern — its fellow drivers.

“You still see people texting, don’t text and drive!” says Anderson. “I don’t care if you hurt yourself, don’t hurt me.”

This is why South Dakota Highway Patrol is increasing the number of troopers out patrolling for the next couple of days.

They’ll be looking for those texting, speeding or driving too closely to others.

“The most important thing we want to make sure you get where you’re going safely,” says Trooper Alex Murray. “The number one thing about the holiday is about family. We want you to get to your family, we want to get back to our family, and it’s the number one thing that we’re concerned about during the holidays.

For Anderson, “that’s my sweetie, the woman I love with all of my heart,” he says. “I can’t wait to see my sweetie.

Nation-wide 48 million Americans will be traveling this Thanksgiving.

That’s an increase of one million compared to last year.

AAA says we’ll see the most Thanksgiving travelers since 2007.