AAA fore­casts in­crease in Thanks­giv­ing trav­el­ers

31,000 more Mary­lan­ders ex­pected to be on move

Baltimore Sun - - FROM PAGE ONE - By Tim Pru­dente tpru­dente@balt­sun.com

Nearly 31,000 more Mary­lan­ders will travel this Thanks­giv­ing hol­i­day, AAA Mid-At­lantic said to­day, a 3 per­cent in­crease over last year and the high­est travel vol­ume pre­dicted in more than a decade.

Na­tion­ally, 48.7 mil­lion Amer­i­cans are ex­pected to travel at least 50 miles from home — a 1.9 per­cent in­crease over last year. AAA de­fined the hol­i­day pe­riod as Nov. 23 through Nov. 27.

An­im­prov­ing econ­omy has en­cour­aged more fam­i­lies to drive, fly and travel by train, said Rag­ina Cooper Averella, the public and gov­ern­ment af­fairs man­ager for AAA Mid-At­lantic. Fac­tors in­clude ris­ing wages and in­creases in con­sumer con­fi­dence and spend­ing, she said.

“Con­sis­tent with what we’ve seen for other hol­i­days through­out this year, Thanks­giv­ing is not dis­ap­point­ing,” she said. “Pos­i­tive eco­nomic fac­tors as well as rel­a­tively low gas prices could be play­ing a sig­nif­i­cant role.”

Fuel prices re­main rel­a­tively low — a gal­lon of reg­u­lar un­leaded gas av­er­aged $2.20 per gal­lon in Mary­land Mon­day and $2.17 na­tion­ally, ac­cord­ing to AAA. That’s 11 and 12 cents higher, re­spec­tively, than last year’s Thanks­giv­ing av­er­age.

In Mary­land, 91 per­cent of the an­tic­i­pated 1,030,300 trav­el­ers are ex­pected to drive, 7 per­cent to fly, and 2 per­cent to travel by train, bus or boat.

State High­way Ad­min­is­tra­tion spokesman David Buck urged trav­el­ers to plan al­ter­nate routes in case of grid­lock.

In re­cent years, the no­to­ri­ous traf­fic on Wed­nes­day be­fore Thanks­giv­ing has ex­panded into Tues­day.

Trav­el­ers can ex­pect the worst traf­fic from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m. Tues­day, Nov. 22, and 1:30 p.m. to 8 p.m. Wed­nes­day, Nov. 23, Buck said.

“The key, ab­so­lutely, is to try and stay away from that four-hour win­dow on Tues­day and that six-or-so-hour win­dow on Wed­nes­day,” he said.

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