Thanksgiving travel expected to be record-breaking

More than 54 million Americans are expected to drive, fly

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Thanksgiving is right around the corner and experts are predicting a busy travel weekend on the roads and in the skies.

AAA projects 54.3 million Americans will travel 50 miles or more away from home over the Thanksgiving holiday.

Falling gas prices and a strong economy have led to an increase in travelers, an additional 2.5 million people are expected to travel over last year. This is the highest number of travelers since 2005.

A majority of travelers will drive to their destinations. Beginning Monday, Nov. 19, motorists should expect congested roads from between 3 and 7 p.m. INRIX, in collaboration with AAA, said drivers could experience nearly quadruple normal drive times in high traffic areas.

Luckily, gas prices have continued to move lower as we move toward the holiday season.

AAA experts encourage travelers to leave early and eliminate any distractions behind the wheel. The best time to leave is in the mornings or on Thanksgiving.

If you plan to fly for the holiday weekend, the Transportation Security Administration says it will be one of the busiest Thanksgivings on record. It is expecting more than 25 million travelers to be screened at TSA checkpoints over the week, which is up 7 percent from last year.

The Tuesday and Wednesday before Thanksgiving are expected to be the busiest days at the airport. Travelers should arrive early and be sure to give themselves time to make it through security before their flights.

Travelers looking to save money can fly the morning of Thanksgiving. The holiday has the lowest average price per ticket and is the lightest travel day.

Busy Day on the Road

Drivers will see major traffic problems on the road starting November 19, according to AAA.

The peak times for travel will be between 3 p.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Wednesday- a day before Thanksgiving. The Sunday after Thanksgiving is another busy day on the road when people are returning home.

To avoid the congestion, many people are leaving earlier and planning to drive the weekend before the holiday.

The National Safety Council is warning people to be patient behind the wheel, and drive safely. 
Last year, Thanksgiving was the second deadliest holiday on the roads-just behind the Fourth of July.

The council is estimating:

  • more than 49,000 people will be injured in car crashes this upcoming Thanksgiving holiday
  • more than 430 will be killed

Alcohol is remains one of the biggest factors in crashes this time of year. The council says historically, on average, more than one-third of deaths during the Thanksgiving holiday period involve alcohol-impaired drivers. 
As always, make sure everyone is properly buckled up, get plenty of sleep, and have your car checked before hitting the road.

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