CT could see record-setting holiday traffic. Here's how to avoid it.
If you're headed home for the holidays, you're not alone out there. AAA is predicting a record-setting travel weekend, with approximately 1 million Connecticut residents hitting the roads, rails and skies.
But there are ways to avoid a traffic nightmare – if you're flexible.
LEAVE EARLY, BE FLEXIBLE
Trying to avoid the holiday rush? AAA predicts the worst time to drive is Saturday, especially between 11 a.m. and 7 p.m.
"We think really Saturday is going to be the big day of travel," said Alec Slatky, with AAA Northeast. "That way you don't arrive too early for your celebrations and wear out your welcome."
Kent and Jan Barnes of Bel Air, Maryland, heeded that advice. They left extra early and made it to the I-95 service plaza in Darien by Friday morning.
"The timing just seemed right for Friday," he said. "And we did avoid a lot of traffic."
The trip home gets easier, as traffic is spread out from next Tuesday through Saturday. But AAA says to avoid the roads from 1-8 p.m. if you can.
AAA estimates this will be the second-busiest holiday travel season since 2000. The heaviest was 2019, just before the COVID pandemic hit.
"It's really just continuing to emerge from the pandemic," said Slatky.
Lower gas prices are also driving more people to hit the roads.
"I'm at 60 bucks to fill this thing pretty much to the top," said Mike Brewer, of Brooklyn, New York. "It's not cheap, but it's worth it to go see family and enjoy the holidays."
Some travelers are wary of flying after last year's meltdown on Southwest Airlines.
"You've had a lot of problems with the airlines," said Wanda Hayes, traveling from Suffolk, Virginia.
Her husband, Everard, added: "And with COVID and everything that was going on prior to that."
Some travelers are driving and flying. Slatky said more people are opting to take two trips this year.
"Especially with the year-end travel, you might be able to fit in a little bit of both," he said. "We also seeing strong interest in the more typical tourist destinations. You look at Orlando and Anaheim."
CHECK THE ROADS
Before you head out, check live traffic cameras here: