SPRINGFIELD -- When traveling over the river and through the woods, whether by car, train or plane, the Illinois Emergency Management Agency and Illinois State Police want you to utilize smart travel tips to help you reach your destination.

AAA says it is expecting the second-highest Thanksgiving travel volume to date with more than 55 million travelers this year. This Thanksgiving, 49.3 million Americans are expected to travel by automobile, which would be the most since 2005 and a 2.8% increase from last year.

Before setting out on a trip, check the latest weather conditions along your travel route and make sure tires, wipers, and lights are in good condition. Start your trip with a full tank of gas, provide your itinerary to a friend, relative or co-worker, and if possible, travel during daylight hours on main roads. While on the road, be prepared to turn back and seek shelter if conditions become threatening. Keep windows clear of snow and ice and adjust speed for road conditions.

“Preparedness is the key component to surviving any emergency or disaster,” said Acting IEMA Director, Alicia Tate-Nadeau. “Whether its winter travel or severe weather preparedness, just a few minutes of preparation today can keep you and your family safe, all year-round.”

Now is also the time to equip your car with a winter car survival kit stocked with items that can keep you safe and warm if you should become stranded alongside a road. A car survival kit should include the following:

• Cell phone and charger

• First aid kit

• Water and high-calorie, non-perishable food

• Boots, hats, gloves and extra clothing to keep dry

• Blanket

• Crank radio and flashlight

• Sack of sand or cat litter

• Shovel

• Windshield scraper and brush

• Tool kit and tow rope

• Booster cables

• Compass and road maps

This year, the state police have issued nearly 6,000 Move Over citations, over 6,400 driving under the influence citations and 10,600 distracted driving citations.

As travelers prepare for the holiday, the Illinois State Police urge motorists to buckle up, put down your phone and move over for emergency vehicles.

"Thanksgiving should be a time of togetherness to create lasting, happy memories. During the holiday weekend as families travel to be together, the Illinois State Police (ISP) will increase patrols in order to make the roadways safer for you and your loved ones," ISP Director Brendan F. Kelly said.

“This year alone, the ISP family has suffered the loss of four Troopers--the most in ISP history. Three of these tragedies were the direct result of either impaired driving, disobeying the ‘Move Over’ laws, or a combination of the two. And no one should suffer the tragedy of unnecessary and preventable loss, especially during the holidays,” he concluded.

An approaching storm system could bring heavy snow, mixed precipitation and rain to portions of the Midwest. All travelers are encouraged to check the forecast and road conditions before hitting the road. Know before you go by visiting www.gettingaroundillinois.com. Also, check your smartphone settings to ensure wireless emergency alerts (WEAs) are enabled to ensure you receive important weather information for your location, even if you are traveling outside your home county or state.

If traveling by plane for the holidays, be sure to review the Transportation Security Administration’s (TSA) security screening tips. When packing for your flights, consider a small emergency kit that includes a flashlight and spare USB power bank.

Additional information on emergency preparedness is available on the Ready Illinois website at www.Ready.Illinois.gov.

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