Encourages Safe Driving During Holiday Season; Reduces Delays and Eases Congestion during Busy Travel Weekend; Motorists Reminded to Slow Down and Move Over for Emergency Responders.
Albany, NY - November 20, 2017 - Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced that temporary lane closures associated with road and bridge construction projects on New York State highways will not be permitted from 6 a.m. on Wednesday, November 22 to 6 a.m. on Monday, November 27, in order to accommodate motorists during the busy Thanksgiving holiday travel week. Some work may continue behind permanent concrete barriers or for emergency repairs.
"This Thanksgiving weekend, thousands of families from across New York will travel near and far to visit loved ones and by suspending construction-related lane closures, we can help ensure they can get to their destinations as quickly as possible and without unnecessary delay," Governor Cuomo said. "I urge all motorists to drive safely and responsibly as they celebrate Thanksgiving this year and to remember to slow down and move over for emergency vehicles with flashing lights along the roadway."
Ensuring that more lanes remain open is in keeping with Governor Cuomo's Drivers First program, which prioritizes the convenience of motorists to minimize traffic congestion and travel delays due to road and bridge work. During this busy travel weekend, motorists are reminded of New York's critically important "Move Over" law, which requires drivers to use due care, slow down and safely move over when they see flashing lights on the side of the road.
AAA predicts that nearly 51 million people will travel more than 50 miles from home from Wednesday through Sunday, and more than 89 percent of those travelers will be driving. That number is up an estimated three percent higher than the same time period in 2016 and is the highest number of expected Thanksgiving travelers since 2005.
If you are driving to visit relatives or spend time off away from home, make sure that your tires are properly inflated, your vehicle's fluid levels are sufficient, your brakes are working and that your car heater is functioning properly. Make sure you have a car safety kit in case of a breakdown, including blankets, water, nonperishable food, jumper cables, windshield wiper fluid, a tire pressure gauge, road hazard markers, a flashlight, snow shovel, broom, ice scraper, any necessary medicine and a phone charger. When checking that the tires are properly inflated, make sure the spare tire is also in good condition in case you need it.
Thruway Authority Acting Executive Director Matthew J. Driscoll said, "The Thruway is one of the safest superhighways in the nation, and we want all our travelers to arrive at their Thanksgiving destination safely. Governor Cuomo's Drivers First program helps ease the added congestion during this busy holiday travel weekend by limiting construction work and allowing people to travel more efficiently with fewer delays. While on the road, motorists can also stop at one of the Thruway's 27 service areas located across New York to take a break, have a cup of coffee or a meal and fill up on gas, before safely continuing their journey."
State Department of Motor Vehicles Executive Deputy Commissioner and Acting Governor's Traffic Safety Committee Chair Terri Egan said, "We want all New Yorkers to enjoy the holidays, and traveling safely is the first ingredient in a successful holiday celebration. Having a car that is properly prepared for the road can make a big difference."
There will be slight variations for certain Thruway projects based on previous traffic volume. A detailed schedule of Thruway lane closures throughout the holiday weekend is available here.
The Wednesday preceding and the Sunday following Thanksgiving are typically two of the busiest days on the Thruway system, with the heaviest travel periods between 12 p.m. and 8 p.m. on those days. The Thruway is prepared to handle the additional traffic volume. Thruway travelers are encouraged to sign-up for TRANSalerts to receive real-time traffic alerts or follow @ThruwayTraffic on Twitter.
Travelers are encouraged to check 511NY by calling 511 or by accessing www.511ny.org before departing. The free service allows users to check road conditions or link to air and transit information.
Mobile users can download the free 511NY mobile app from the iTunes or Google Play stores. The app features Drive mode, which provides audible alerts along a chosen route while a user is driving, warning them about incidents and construction. Users can set a destination prior to departing and receive information about up to three routes. Motorists are also encouraged to download the new Thruway app, which enables travelers to access the latest Thruway conditions in real-time, including construction and traffic alerts, while remaining hands-free. Download the Thruway app by visiting the iOS devices website or Android devices website.
Drivers should also check for recalls affecting their vehicles on the website safercar.gov, provided through the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Motorists can learn about any repairs they need so they can travel safely to their destinations. To find out if a vehicle you own or plan to purchase needs to be repaired because of a safety recall, you can go to safercar.gov and enter the Vehicle Identification Number or the vehicle's make and model.