(Springfield, Mo.--11/21/2017) Whether you're flying or driving this holiday season, officials are urging people to make safety their top priority during the thanksgiving holiday travel period.
To combat the problem of people who decide to drive distracted or under the influence, SGT. Jason Pace says law enforcement will be out in full force.
"It’s one of the most serious tasks that you’ll do in a day. I mean you have the potential of taking someone’s life or your own life by answering a quick text or taking the three seconds to buckle up or getting behind the wheel when you shouldn’t," explains Pace.
Troopers will be participating in operation care. They will be assigned to 20 mile stretches of I-44 to maximize visibility.
"You can make a difference so keep safety in mind. Enjoy your holidays, but get to your destination safely and do what you’re supposed to do."
With nearly 51 million people expected to travel this Thanksgiving holiday, Kent Boyd says the Springfield Branson National Airport is prepared for that spike in numbers and they want travelers to be prepared too.
"Just to see the lay of the land if they’re not familiar with it and to make sure there’s plenty of time to get through security, to get their ticket, and all sort of thing. Because the least little thing can hang you up and you end up missing your flight," explains Boyd.
He says even though this area is less of a hassle, it’s still important to take the same precautions you would anywhere else.
"During the holidays you do see an uptick compared to the rest of the end of the year and you have that influx of inexperienced flyers and that tends to muck things up."
They recommend still arriving at the airport two hours ahead of time and being sure to check if items you;re traveling with are TSA approved.
Jim Buscho is a local traveler who plans on flying to see his family Bryson City, North Carolina. He tells FOX5,"I’d rather wait here then have to be pushed and crowded for time to get through security and all that. I just assume sit here and wait.
Travelers say they're leaving today to avoid a travel nightmare later on the week.
Jennifer Behme and her husband are flying to Michigan to see her mother for the holidays. She explains, "Cause we’re insane and we love holiday travel, no it’s better a few days before but you can see it’s starting.
Highway Patrol's Emergency Assistance number is 1-800-525-555( or *55 on a cellular phone). Motorists should use this emergency assistance number to report traffic crashes, crimes being committed, or other emergencies on Missouri's highways. When you dial this number anywhere in the state, it rings directly into the closest Patrol headquarters.