(WWJ) - About 1.7 million Michiganders will hop on planes, trains and automobiles next week, taking part in one of the busiest travel periods of the year and almost reaching levels seen before the COVID-19 pandemic, experts say.
AAA's Adrienne Woodland joined WWJ's Jackie Paige and Jonathan Carlson live Tuesday morning 1.7 will travel holiday season, up compared to last year, but slightly below pre-pandemic travel levels.
"89% of those expected to travel across the country will drive to their destinations," Woodland said. "Nationally, we expect more than 48 million Americans will set out for a holiday road trip and that's up more than 200,000 compared to last year. In Michigan, 1.5 million Michiganders will take a road trip and that's an increase of over 10,000 compared to last year."
Woodland said Michiganders should plan to travel accordingly to get to their destinations safely and one of the worst times for drivers to hit the road is the day before Thanksgiving between 11 a.m. and 8 p.m., Woodland warned.
"Traffic can be at times and places be double compared to what you're normally seeing," she added. "We certainly we encourage anybody planning to get out on the road to be sure you are alert, awake and definitely sober when you're hitting the roadway."
And if you thought a spike in gas prices may discourage travel, Woodland said historically, high prices don't do enough to cancel holiday plans to see friends and family.
Instead, travels tend to offset the cost of gas prices by spending less on accommodations, shopping and dinning out.
"Certainly in Michigan, prices have fluctuated this month and we could actually set a new record high for the holiday," Woodland said.
Currently, the daily average price is now down to $3.99 a gallon for regular unleaded. The highest price ever on Thanksgiving was $3.61 a gallon set back in 2012.
"So we're definitely right now still above that so we can certainly in Michigan probably set a record high for Thanksgiving gas prices," Woodland added.
Hitting the road next week? Keep your radio tuned to WWJ Newsradio 950 for the latest weather and traffic updates every 10 minutes on the :08s, tell you smart speaker "play WWJ nine-fifty," and download the free Audacy App and favorite WWJ.