Buckle Up: AAA Forecasts Crowded Roadways for Thanksgiving Holiday

If you have plans to travel this Thanksgiving holiday, expect a lot of company on Maryland roads.

AAA Mid-Atlantic projects more than 1 million Marylanders will travel 50 miles or more from home this year over the Thanksgiving holiday—from Wednesday, Nov. 23 to Sunday, Nov. 27. That is a slight increase from last year travel of about 1 percent. The travel forecast is still nearly 10 percent below the pre-pandemic Thanksgiving travel volume in 2019. AAA has traced and tracked Thanksgiving travel trends and volumes since 2000.

The majority of Maryland travelers—more than 956,000 or 92 percent—will drive to their destinations.

AAA projects 72,350 Marylanders will fly this holiday, which is a 6 percent increase compared to last year. But this is still down almost 17 percent from the 2019 Thanksgiving holiday prior to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The largest increase in travel by more than 20 percent will be travel by bus, train or some other mode over the Thanksgiving holiday.

The autoclub warns motorists to expect delays on key roads as nearly 92 percent of the 1 million Maryland travelers will reach their destination by car. AAA and INRIX, a transportation analytics firm that works with the autoclub, recommend travel early on Wednesday and Thanksgiving Day before 11 a.m. They recommend avoiding travel between 4-8 p.m. Friday, Saturday, and Sunday.

Best and Worst Time to Travel (by auto)

Date Worst Travel Time Best Travel Time
11/23/2022 11 AM – 8 PM Before 8 AM, After 8 PM
11/24/2022 11 AM – 3 PM Before 11 AM, After 6 PM
11/25/2022 4 PM – 8 PM Before 11 AM, After 8 PM
11/26/2022 4 PM – 8 PM Before 2 PM, After 8 PM
11/27/2022 4 PM – 8 PM Before 11 AM, After 8 PM

More detailed information about the autoclub’s Thanksgiving Holiday travel forecast is available on the AAA website, here.

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