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AAA Hosting Holiday Travel & Winter Safety Press Conference Monday, November 20th

Thanksgiving pic


  •          Tom Baran, Traffic Safety Education Specialist, AAA Northern New England
  •          Lauren Stewart, Maine Bureau of Highway Safety
  •          Travis Moore – Region Manager, MaineDOT Bureau of Maintenance & Operations, MEDOT
  •           Rebecca Grover, Public Outreach Coordinator, Maine Turnpike Authority
  •            Lt. Bruce Scott,  Maine State Police 


When:                Monday November 20, 2023, 10:30 a.m.

Where:              Maine Turnpike Authority Gardiner Maintenance Facility
                            299 Lewiston Rd. West Gardiner

Visuals:              Each of the respective presenters will be available for individual interviews after the media event. There will also be a plow truck demonstration and Winter Safety Kit, vehicle and battery maintenance demonstration.

Contact:            Tom Baran, AAA
                           (207) 752-3531

This winter, Maine Department of Transportation, Maine Turnpike Authority, Maine Bureau of Highway Safety, Maine State Police and AAA Northern New England are urging all road users to use caution as winter conditions approach and we spend time celebrating with friends and family during the holiday season. 

Thanksgiving week generally marks the beginning of the winter driving season in Maine, and it also is one of the heaviest traffic weeks of the year. In fact, AAA estimates that this Thanksgiving holiday period over 55 million Americans traveling over the holiday period and nearly 89% will be traveling by automobile. This year’s Thanksgiving forecast is an increase of 2.3% over last year and marks the third-highest Thanksgiving forecast since AAA began tracking holiday travel in 2000.

Best and Worst Times to Drive


Worst Travel Time

Best Travel Time

Wednesday, Nov22

2:00 - 6:00 PM

Before 11:00 AM

Thursday, Nov 23

11:00 AM - 3:00 PM

Before 10:00 AM, After 5:00 PM

Friday, Nov 24

12:00 - 4:00 PM

Before 11:00 AM, After 7:00 PM

Saturday, Nov 25

3:00 - 5:00 PM

Before 12:00 PM

Sunday, Nov 26

3:00 - 5:00 PM

Before 12:00 PM



Winter Driving & Walking

Each year, the region’s first snowfall brings a rash of crashes to Maine’s roads as drivers reacquaint themselves with winter conditions.  We urge users to plan ahead, slow down in adverse driving conditions, give plow trucks plenty of room, and prepare your car and yourself for the challenges New England weather brings. 

Maine’s snowiest month is January, but crash statistics show that there are more winter-weather related crashes in December than any other month. In fact, even though Maine experiences winter weather into the month of March, winter-weather related crashes continue to decline each month from December into March.

Speed is often the major cause of winter-weather related crashes. Drivers need to slow down since stopping on ice or snow requires extra time and distance. Drive safely below the speed limit so you don’t have brake suddenly, which can cause you to lose control of your vehicle. 

Motorists and pedestrians should never assume a snowplow driver can see them. Snowplow drivers have limited sight distances, with the wing blades of the vehicle obscuring their side views. The size and weight of snowplows make it very difficult to maneuver and stop quickly. Snow blowing from behind the plow can severely reduce visibility or cause whiteout conditions. Motorists should not attempt to pass snowplows or follow too closely. The safest place for motorists is well behind the snowplows where the roadway is clear and salted.


We know that winters in Maine can coat our sidewalks and roads with everything from sleet and ice to snow. With shorter days and much less light during commuting times, pedestrians and bicyclists should be as visible as possible, and should wear bright, reflective clothing as well as lights if possible.  Further, pedestrians and bicyclists should remember that high snowbanks create poor sight lines for motorists.  Use care when stepping out to cross a street and make sure that motorists can see you from behind any piled snow.  Finally, remember is it always safest to walk facing traffic when walking in the roadway.


Motorists should also make sure their car is ready for winter driving by checking their tires, wiper blades, battery and clearing the car of any snow before traveling. Also, pack an emergency kit and keep it in the vehicle so it will be there when needed.


Don’t Drive Intoxicated Don’t Drive Intexticated

Thanksgiving also begins the season of cheer and celebration which often results lives changed or ended due to impaired driving. “Blackout Wednesday” and “Drinksgiving” are terms associated with heavy alcohol consumption during the holiday period and “Danksgiving” refers to the consumption of marijuana during the holiday period. Remember if you feel different, you drive different … buzzed driving is impaired driving. Make a transportation plan ahead of time if you plan on consuming an impairing substance.

With snow soon to be in the forecast, Maine’s highway safety partners want drivers and pedestrians to be prepared, be responsible, take it slow and be safe on Maine’s wintry roads this year.

CST 1016202-80 Copyright © AAA Northern New England. All Rights Reserved.
AAA Northern New England is a member club affiliated with the American Automobile Association (AAA) national federation and serves members in Maine, New Hampshire, and Vermont.