Nothing kicks off the summer season like an exciting trip to see family and friends. And likely an extremely long traffic jam.
If you’re among the 16% of U.S. drivers over 65, you may be hitting the road yourself, or you may be expecting a visit from a carload of family or friends. In either case, be ready for delays.
AAA is predicting this Memorial Day weekend to be the second-busiest on record — topped only by 2005 — since the organization began quantifying holiday travel totals in 2000. More than 43 million people in the United States are expected to be in transit between May 23 and May 27.
Most of those travelers (37.6 million) will be in cars, and traffic delays could be substantial: up to triple normal evening commute times on major roads in certain metropolitan areas.
To see the worst times to be traveling in certain metropolitan areas, how long the traffic delays could be, as well as the top Memorial Day travel destinations check out the AAA newsroom.
So why was 2005 such a mess for traffic? It’s a mystery to AAA. Public relations representative Julie Terry told Considerable, “There are no major economic outliers that would have contributed to the uptick that year. It is a bit of an anomaly for which we don’t have a great explanation.”
The heavy travel predictions come despite rising gas prices that are approaching a national average of $3 per gallon; that uptick may be offset by car rentals and hotel rooms being slightly cheaper than last year, according to AAA’s Travel Leisure Index.
So if you’re hitting the road this weekend, pack extra snacks, download some long podcasts, and be prepared to wait awhile to reach your destination.