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Here Are the Worst Times to Hit the Road for The Holidays

If you planning on driving to grandmas house for thanksgiving get ready. AAA projects nearly 4 million more people will hit the roads this week compared with last year, which means travelers should be prepared to face an uptick in traffic.

Experts say the long holiday weekend, increased vaccination rates and open U.S. borders are all pushing more people to drive this year. A November AAA report predicts automobile travel volumes will fall within 3% of pre-pandemic levels, with 48.3 million people traveling by car for Thanksgiving.

INRIX Traffic found delays nationwide are expected to be about 40% higher than normal over Thanksgiving.   But there are ways to beat the road congestion. Morning departures tend to be ideal, especially now that there are fewer people commuting to work or school in the pandemic.

INRIX found that the best time to take off is after 9 p.m. on Wednesday, before 11 a.m. on Thursday and Friday, and before noon on Saturday and Sunday

Leaving in the am hours is best, Even on normal days, midday’s and afternoon traffic are pretty heavy, and in a lot of places is just as bad now as it was pre-COVID.”

Why is traffic getting worse?

Travelers can usually expect an uptick in traffic during major holidays like Thanksgiving, but there are some factors this year that could add to the congestion.

A potentially disruptive storm could be hitting the central & southern U.S. later this week, potentially bringing heavy snow, rain, and winds.

Car accidents are another concern this time of year. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration warns that drivers have been making “risky decisions” since the pandemic began, including driving impaired or without a seat belt.


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