Holiday Traffic

By: Associated Press
By: Associated Press

Alabama state troopers estimate that 13 people will die over the New Year's holiday and law enforcement officers say they will crack down on drunk driving this week by putting more troopers on patrol.

Last year, six people died in traffic accidents over the New Year's weekend, three on rural roads and three in urban areas.

Colonel W.M. Coppage, director of the Alabama Department of Public Safety, said the additional patrols will be paid for by federal overtime grants.

The 102-hour New Year's holiday travel period begins at 6 p.m. Wednesday and ends at midnight Sunday.

State troopers reported that at least 22 people died on Alabama roads during the 102-hour Christmas holiday period. Extended Web Coverage

Holiday Travel Tips: Driving, Using the Rails, Taking a Bus, or Flying


  • Check road conditions before you leave home.
  • The most traffic usually occurs on: The Wednesday before Thanksgiving, Friday before Christmas, Christmas Eve, and New Year’s Eve.
  • Hotel and motel occupancies slumped badly after September, so check for bargains now if you need to spend a night on the road.
  • Avoid highways that double as access roads to airports. Airport roads may be more backed up than usual given the added security and constraints on terminal parking.

Car Rentals

  • You may not notice security measures at most car-rental locations. But many rental companies are advising customers to allow extra time for pick-ups and drop-offs, especially at airport locations.
  • Book as far in advance as possible. There's generally no penalty for canceling a reservation unless you've booked a specialty vehicle, but always ask about the cancellation policy.
  • Driving a rental car across the borders into Canada or Mexico is not allowed by some rental firms.


  • Reservations are expected to be very tight and on unreserved this holiday season, get your tickets early.
  • Make sure you know what type of identification you need to bring before boarding the train.
  • Some railway companies, such as Amtrak, are requiring passengers to show a picture I.D. when purchasing the tickets.

Bus Travel

  • Remember that many items that were OK to carry onto a bus in early September are no longer allowed.
  • Overall, U.S. motorcoaches carried about 774 million passengers last year, which was about 200 million more than the airlines and more than double Amtrak and commuter rail lines combined.
  • Allow yourself time to board the bus, as security measures have increased since 9-11.
  • Be sure to bring proper identification. Each bus line requires different forms of identification, but all require at least a photo I.D.


  • Be sure to check with the airline on how early you need to arrive to the airport. This holiday season will bring even more security to the airports.
  • Check bag check-in and bag carry-on regulations before getting to the airport.
  • Have a photo I.D. ready when arriving to the airport. As you will need it check any luggage and again to board the plane.
  • Make sure you do not have anything in your luggage or on your person, that could be mistaken as a weapon. Passengers many times overlook items such as a knife on a key chain.

A compilation of Web reports contributed to this report.

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