(Media release from the Georgia Department of Public Safety):

As the Christmas and New Year’s holidays rapidly approach, Georgia State Patrol (GSP) Troopers and Motor Carrier Compliance (MCCD) Officers across the state are preparing for the back-to-back holiday weekends and will conduct high visibility patrols on the heaviest travel days to remind motorists to drive safely.

This year’s Christmas holiday travel period begins Friday, December 23, at 6 p.m., and ends Monday, December 26, at 11:59 p.m. The New Year’s holiday travel period gets underway Friday, December 30, at 6:00 p.m., and ends at 11:59 p.m., on Monday, January 2, 2023. Both are 78-hours long.

“We want everyone to enjoy the holiday season with family and friends; however, we want all motorists to make safety a priority when traveling on Georgia’s roadways,” said Colonel Chris. C. Wright, Commissioner of the Georgia Department of Public Safety (DPS). “Drivers should obey the posted speed limit, avoid distractions, drive sober, wear seatbelts and ensure children are properly restrained, as well as be courteous to other drivers,” added Colonel Wright. 

AAA estimates 112.7 million people will journey 50 miles or more away from home from December 23 to January 2.  In addition to increased traffic, the end-of-the-year is also the time when Troopers and Officers see an increase in the number of impaired drivers on Georgia’s roads.

“I encourage all to plan holiday activities wisely. Choose a designated driver before you celebrate; and if you plan to drive, please do not drink, Colonel Wright said.” Last year’s Christmas holiday travel period resulted in 195 drivers being arrested for driving under the influence (DUI), and 254 drivers were arrested during the New Year’s holiday for the same offense. If you are caught driving impaired, you will be arrested.”

Best & Worst Times to Travel by Car

12/23/224:00 PM – 7:00 PMBefore 2:00 PM, after 8:00 PM
12/24/2212:00 – 6:00 PMBefore 11:00 AM, after 7:00 PM
12/25/22                           Minimal Traffic Expected
12/26/222:00 – 6:00 PMBefore 12:00 PM, after 7:00 PM
12/27/223:00 –7:00 PMBefore 2:00 PM, after 8:00 PM
12/28/223:00 –7:00 PMBefore 2:00 PM, after 8:00 PM
12/29/223:00 –7:00 PMBefore 2:00 PM, after 8:00 PM
12/30/223:00 –7:00 PMBefore 2:00 PM, after 8:00 PM
12/30/223:00 –7:00 PMBefore 2:00 PM, after 8:00 PM
12/31/22                        Minimal Traffic Expected
1/1/23                             Minimal Traffic Expected
1/2/234:00 –7:00 PMBefore 3:00 PM, after 8:00 PM

Source: INRIX

DPS wants everyone to arrive safely to their destinations. Please review this checklist we have provided in preparation for your trip on the road.

  • Before You Go: Make sure all fluids (gas, coolant, oil, windshield wipers, etc.) are to their required levels; check your tire pressure including the spare tire; and check your battery, brakes, belts, hoses, filters, and lights before getting on the road.
  • Prepare a Car Emergency Kit: Make sure you know where you are going; check the weather and road conditions; make sure you have important numbers for emergency services programmed in your phone; make sure you have your phone charging cables, jumper cables, flashlights, snow chains, ice scraper, shovel, and tool kits; purchase or make sure your first aid kit is filled; include blankets, pillows, water and snacks for long trips and possible delays; and make sure you have your masks and hand sanitizer.
  • While on the Road: Know the laws of the road in the states where you travel by visiting their state websites/apps; pay attention to posted speed limits; make sure everyone is properly restrained in the vehicle including booster seats for those children under 8; consider filling up your tank when it gets to half full; keep more than a car length apart between you and the vehicle in front of you (two lengths apart in inclement weather); and don’t drive impaired which includes taking medication.  
  • Stay Safe and Alert: Be aware of aggressive drivers and/or impaired drivers and report them to 911 or *GSP while on Georgia’s roads; make sure you have plenty of gas between exits; take breaks and stretch at well-lit rest stops to avoid falling asleep at the wheel; share driving responsibilities to avoid fatigue; don’t leave valuables, including gifts visible in your vehicle; and remove any distractions that will take your attention off the road. 

During the holiday period, an updated traffic fatality count will be published on the Department of Public Safety’s Twitter page: