THP, TDOT help drivers get to destinations safely on Thanksgivin - WRCBtv.com | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

THP, TDOT help drivers get to destinations safely on Thanksgiving

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HAMILTON COUNTY, TN (WRCB) -

As many of us celebrate Thanksgiving on Thursday, first responders are making sure everyone stays safe when they hit the roads.

The Tennessee Highway Patrol works with the Tennessee Department of Transportation to help drivers on the interstates and state highways.

THP's dispatch center stays open 24/7. While the number of calls is usually down on a holiday, they're still watching out for backups and wrecks to keep everyone safe.

Some are still making the journey to their Thanksgiving dinner on this holiday. Maggie Kerekes is one of them.

"There are quite a few drivers, but not as many as I was expecting," Maggie Kerekes, a driver said.

She and her husband are on their way to Signal Mountain to visit her in-laws.

On Wednesday, the roads were clogged with drivers rushing to get to where they needed to be. The Tennessee Highway Patrol took nearly 600 calls.

Dispatchers monitor TDOT's traffic cameras and answer calls for service. That includes broken down cars, reckless drivers or crashes.

"This is a day for your blessings and to be thankful for your families and your friends and our goal is to make sure you get to spend that time with your family and your friends," Michele Phillips, a THP regional dispatch manager said.

When someone dials *THP, dispatchers will pick up the call, TDOT will pinpoint the issue on their traffic cameras, and that's when a state trooper will be dispatched.

Often times, they're aware of a problem before anyone has to call. That gives Kerekes peace of mind.

"If something happens because of a lot of traffic, then, yeah, they need to be out there, but I appreciate what they're doing," Kerekes said.

As for Phillips, she hopes no one has to call for help, but her team is ready for when that happens.

"I would love to work a day that you don't have any crashes that you have to worry about or broke down motorists or anything," Phillips said.

Dispatchers said their busiest days during this time of the year are the Wednesday before Thanksgiving and the Sunday after the holiday.

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