When is the best time to travel this holiday season?

Traffic.
Traffic. Photo credit GettyImages

With AAA projecting that nearly 4 million more people will hit the road this Thanksgiving compared to last year, roads are set to be packed. So, when is it best to travel this holiday weekend?

A transportation analytics company INRIX released a report giving out the best times to travel if you have to this Thanksgiving.

The best advice that INRIX has for travelers, "leave early."

The report says that the best time to take off is after 9 p.m. on Wednesday and before 11 a.m. on Thursday. While it may mean you have to spend more time with your relatives, it's a must to beat traffic.

Bob Pishue, an analyst with INRIX, shared with USA Today that Thanksgiving is a big holiday for traffic.

"There are a couple of really big driving holidays. … Thanksgiving is one of them," Pishue said. "[Traffic] won't be as bad as it was in 2019. But the roads are definitely more congested than they were last year."

Traffic delays nationwide are expected to be about 40% higher than typically seen on Thanksgiving, according to INRIX.

"Leaving in the morning is definitely the best bet," Pishue said. "Even on a normal day, midday and afternoon traffic is pretty heavy, and in a lot of places is just as bad now as it was pre-COVID."

With the increase in travel, there is also an increase in risk as the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration warned of drivers making bad decisions since the pandemic began. The agency reported an uptick in driving under the influence and without a seatbelt.

The agency has estimated that 20,160 people have lost their lives in motor vehicle crashes in the first half of the year, up 18% over 2020.

If drivers take to the road this holiday season, they are recommended to do so safely and prepare for possible delays.

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