TENNESSEE (WJHL) — A release from the American Automobile Association (AAA) said 1.3 million Tennesseans are expected to travel over Thanksgiving weekend. This predicted number is the second highest on record, with an expected 31,000 more holiday travelers than last year.
“Travel demand has been strong all year and that trend will continue with one of the busiest Thanksgivings on record,” said Debbie Haas, vice president of travel for AAA. “With more people taking to the roads, skies, rails and sea, travelers should expect congested roads and longer lines at transportation terminals. AAA encourages travelers to develop their plan now, leave early and be courteous to others.”
AAA predicts that 1.25 million people will travel by car, and 39,676 by air. The release also predicts that gas prices will remain low through the holiday season—unless oil prices suddenly spike. Currently, Tennessee residents are paying an average price of $2.66. Last Thanksgiving, this number was $3.16.
For those who intend to fly to their destinations, the release notes that the Tuesday and Wednesday before Thanksgiving are the busiest air travel days and the most expensive. Sunday is the most popular day for people to return home.
Wednesday is the busiest day on the roads for Tennesseans, with the average travel time potentially reaching 80% longer than normal in some metro areas. According to the release, a provider of transportation data and insights named INRIX recommends leaving in the morning or after 6 p.m. to avoid the heaviest traffic congestion.
“The day before Thanksgiving is notoriously one of the most congested days on our roadways; travelers should be prepared for long delays, especially in and around major metros,” said Bob Pishue, transportation analyst at INRIX. “Knowing when and where congestion will build can help minimize holiday traffic frustrations. We advise drivers to use traffic apps, local DOT notifications and 511 services for real-time updates.”
AAA also expects 12,000 travelers to use other modes of transportation such as cruises, buses and trains. This number is almost 10% higher than last year, the release said.
The upcoming holiday season comes with a reminder from AAA: slow down and move over for first responders, tow trucks and any motorist with a disabled vehicle on the side of the road.
“We want to make sure all holiday travelers, tow truck drivers and first responders make it home safely this Thanksgiving,” said Megan Cooper, spokeswoman for AAA. “All drivers can help by moving over for flashing lights, whether it’s a tow truck or a disabled vehicle with its hazard lights on. Even if it adds a few minutes to your commute, that small gesture could save a life.”