Travel officials offer advice for staying safe this holiday season

Published: Nov. 22, 2021 at 7:07 PM CST
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WICHITA FALLS, Texas (KAUZ) - Wichita Falls officials are preparing for the holidays and anticipating roads to be traveled a lot more this year compared to last.

The Texas Department of Safety will have extra patrols out starting Wednesday going through Sunday. Officers want to express how important it is to drive with awareness to make sure everyone gets where they are going safely.

“You have to drive defensively,” Sgt. Dan Buesing with Texas DPS said. “There will be a lot of other traffic out there, a lot of motorists in the hundreds of thousands traveling all directions so you have to keep your distractions down, really focus on the road. Definitely don’t text and drive, or drink and drive, and make sure you buckle up.

“We are still having issues statewide with the amount of people who are not using their seatbelts so please do those things to help get to your destinations safely,” said Buesing.

The Wichita Falls Regional Airport has seen an increase in travelers recently as they are still recovering from the COVID impact. However, they expect to see their normal increase for the holidays.

“Foot traffic through here usually increases by about 15-20% during the holiday timeframe, especially during this time frame,” Jon Waltjen, Wichita Falls Regional Airport Administrator, said. “The drop off and pick up have been a big increase. People will come and they don’t want to leave their cars for the holidays so they will drop them off and that is where a lot of our traffic has been.”

He said to treat their airport like one of the big ones: Arrive an hour and a half ahead and follow the guidelines for bagging to eliminate traffic and delays.

Buesing said there is another element they are ready for in protecting travelers on the road.

“Our schools may be out this week but there are still activities going where families will be on the road watching those activities,” Buesing said. “So if you mix those together with holiday travel, Thanksgiving, and Christmas shopping, you have a lot of extra people on the roadway.”

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