Thanksgiving travel predicted to be worst in a decade

NEW HAVEN, Conn. (WTNH) – The Thanksgiving getaway is almost here. According to the American Automobile Association, 51 million people will travel this week, the vast majority in a car. The trick to staying out of traffic is knowing when everybody else is driving, so you’re not stuck behind them.

“Of the overall numbers, about 89% of the folks who are going to travel are going to drive, and the expectation is early Tuesday you’re going to see a lot of people on the roads,” said Fran Mayko, spokesperson for AAA Northeast.

That’s right, the getaway begins Tuesday. The traffic app Waze analyzed data from previous years and found the worst times to hit the road:

Tuesday               4PM-6PM

Wednesday        3PM-5PM

Thursday             12PM-2PM

Friday                    2PM-5PM

Saturday              2PM-5PM

Sunday                 1PM-3PM

Monday               4PM-6PM

All that traffic is predicted, even though the average price for regular gas in Connecticut is now $2.71 a gallon. That is up more than 40 cents from this time last year. It is a significant jump, but not enough to stop travelers.

“It’s the holiday itself,” explained Mayko. “It’s traditional for people to see family and friends, and because we’re a mobile society, nothing will stop us from being with our loved ones.”

If you are taking a longer trip, AAA says almost 4 million people will be flying for the holiday. Experts say Wednesday and Sunday are the busiest days to fly. They also advise packing light to avoid checking a bag. That will cut down on time and cost.

This is also the busiest time of year on the rails. Amtrak is adding extra trains and seats because it is expecting three quarters of a million passengers this week alone. That’s on top of a record breaking year for Amtrak.

“New Haven, in particular, finished in the top 20 most popular stations with more than 625,000 passengers coming in and out of this station in the past year,” said Amtrak Spokesman Jason Abrams.

Metro North is gearing up for the holiday getaway as well, saying its special Thanksgiving schedule is stuffed with service.

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