Miami Herald

When are the best and worst times to drive during this holiday week? You’ll want to plan


Expect busy roads in Florida during Thanksgivi­ng week.

People scrambling to get to their family’s holiday dinner. Shoppers scurrying to Black Friday sales at stores and malls. Others hitting the road during their extended time off for a few days out of town.

To help get you around with less pain, AAA, the organizati­on behind the emergency road service, has put together a best of times/worst of times schedule of when you should take to or stay off the street.

The AAA estimates that more than 55 million people will hit the road for a trip of 50 miles or more, a 2.3% increase over last year. In Florida, the organizati­on projects more than 3 million Floridians will travel 50 miles or more the second highest on record and 3% more holiday travelers than last year.

“For many Americans, Thanksgivi­ng and travel go hand in hand, and this holiday, we expect more people on the roads, skies, and seas compared to 2022,” said Paula Twidale, senior vice president of AAA Travel. “Travel demand has been strong all year, and AAA’s Thanksgivi­ng forecast reflects that continued desire to get away and spend time with loved ones.”

With South Florida schools off for Thanksgivi­ng week, plenty of families are hitting the road. “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.”

But the one day that’s truly worse than all the others is the Wednesday before Thanksgivi­ng, according to AAA. Analysts expect Nov. 22 to be the busiest on the roads, with average travel times as high as 80% over normal in some metro areas.

“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.

Here’s a breakdown of the traffic forecast:

Wednesday: Worst time: 2 p.m. to 6 p.m.;

Best time: Before 11 a.m.

Thursday, Thanksgivi­ng Day: Worst time: 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.;

Best time: Before 10 a.m. and after 5 p.m.

Friday: Worst time: Noon to 4 p.m.; Best time: Before 11 a.m. and after 7 p.m.

Saturday: Worst time:

3 to 5 p.m.; Best time: Before noon.

Sunday: Worst time:

3 to 5 p.m.; Best time: Before noon.

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