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MDOT halting construction on Thanksgiving to minimize travel delays

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To help keep traffic moving this Thanksgiving, the Mississippi Department of Transportation (MDOT) will halt all construction on Thursday.

MDOT crews and contractors will also limit roadwork by requiring lane closures beginning Wednesday afternoon through Monday morning. Officials say this will provide maximum travel capacity and minimal delays to motorists traveling throughout the state during the holiday weekend.

“Even though most highway construction will halt across the state, motorists should be aware that some lane closures will remain in place,” MDOT Executive Director Brad White said. “Lane closures are there to protect motorists, and MDOT urges drivers to treat these areas as active work zones.”

Historically, Thanksgiving is one of the busiest travel holidays in America, and even in Mississippi. Transportation authorities are urging residents to prioritize safety as they hit the road to visit loved ones.

“As Thanksgiving travel numbers increase each year, that means there will be more motorists on the road with you,” White said. “Motorists should watch their speeds and obey all traffic laws to ensure they make it safely to their holiday destinations.”

No matter how many vehicles are on Mississippi highways, drivers are instructed to avoid driving distracted. Research shows sending or receiving text messages takes a driver’s eyes off the road for an average of 4.6 seconds, the equivalent – at 55 miles per hour – of traveling the length of a football field blind. Drivers who use a hand-held device are four times more likely to get into a serious crash.

“It only takes a second for a distraction to cause a wreck and possible injury,” White said. “Don’t let text messages and phone calls take your attention. They can wait. If it’s urgent, find a safe place to stop or have a passenger assist.”

MDOT offers these tips for safe driving this Thanksgiving:

  • Plan ahead — the MDOT Traffic mobile app shows real-time road conditions along your travel route.
  • Get plenty of rest before driving. Remember to plan frequent stops if traveling long distances.
  • Buckle up. Seat belt use is one of the easiest and most effective ways to save lives and reduce injuries from a possible crash.
  • Always use caution in work zones. Roadside workers also want to make it home safely to their families for the holidays.
  • Watch out for wildlife. Cooler temperatures mean deer and other wildlife are more active near highways. Use extra caution if traveling during dusk and dawn.
  • Do not drive impaired. If you plan to drink, make sure you have a designated driver.

Report: Mississippians will see lower gas prices this Thanksgiving

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