BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KERO) — Christmas Eve is approaching, and many folks will be packing up their cars to leave town for the holiday.
The Automobile Club is projecting that this is going to be the third busiest year-end travel period on record.
The holiday weekend is here which means many will be traveling– but keep in mind this recent storm will impact the travel time and road conditions for those traveling by car.
Last year, at least 38 people were killed in crashes in California throughout the Christmas holiday enforcement period and that is why CHP is urging everyone to not only prepare themselves but their vehicles as well.
“What happens with these periods and with so many people traveling, you’re going to have longer travel times. Drivers are going to come across driver fatigue whether if they're getting sleep, they're getting bored. That’s where we try to eliminate the time people have to be in their actual transit period,” said Officer Scott, California Highway Patrol Officer.
Officer Scott adds that while getting a full night of rest is an important factor for safe traveling, staying up to date with road conditions is indeed a must.
“If you’re ever worried about roadway conditions, there are certain apps you can use that will give you updated rerouting directions if need be. You're going to have little valleys in the roadway depending on where you're at which can have puddles of water start to fill up or possible patches of snow depending on where you’re at.”
Stormy weather can easily impact transit periods, Captain Bruno with Cal Fire advises all holiday travelers to double, and triple check the vital components of their cars before getting on the road.
“Make sure that their wipers are working appropriately. During any kind of storm or rainy season that they are driving with their headlights on just to make sure that other drivers can view them and them coming safely,” said Captain Bruno.
According to CHP, 95 percent of motor vehicle accidents are from human error. This year there is a substantial increase in holiday travel volume in comparison to last year.
“The 8.8 million southern Californians traveling, that is up 37 percent from last year and down just 6 percent from the number of travelers we saw in 2019 for the year-end holidays so we are very close to pre-pandemic levels,” said Doug Shupe, AAA Spokesperson.
With the CHP maximum enforcement period beginning Friday evening at 6 p.m., local officials also anticipate heavy traffic on Sunday as folks will be returning home. They encourage everyone to stay alert while traveling and to report any form of distracted driving they may see.