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AAA: More cars, overall travelers predicted this Thanksgiving

MORGANTOWN — You can expect busier roads than normal this Thanksgiving, according to the expert forecasters at AAA.

“It’s going to be the most traveled Thanksgiving — we’re projecting — since 2005,” AAA’s Jim Garrity told WAJR’s Morgantown AM. “Nationwide, we’re talking more than 54 million.”

The 54.2 million projected by AAA are people who they expect to travel at least 50 miles away from home for Thanksgiving, a near five percent increase compared to 2017.

“What that really means for everybody, that’s going to be five percent more people than were on the roads last year,” Garrity said.

Nearly 10 million holiday travelers in this region are expected, including around nine million drivers. This happens to coincide with an ongoing fall in gas prices, which average $2.629 per gallon in West Virginia this week.

“It’s almost like just in the nick of time gas prices have been coming down,” Garrity said. “Usually, after Labor Day you see prices start to fall. This year was kind of an outlier with crude oil as expensive as it’s been.”

For those traveling in-state, Accuweather meteorologist Elliot Abrams believes most should avoid potentially inclement weather. For those traveling north and east into neighboring states, he offered less certain.

“Across PA and Northern Ohio into New York state, there could be those dangerous snow squalls,” he told WAJR.

Garrity reminded listeners that around 360,000 motorists are stranded annually by car troubles during the holiday season.

“The top three calls we always get when it comes to these holiday travels — dead batteries, flat tires, and lockouts.”

AAA predicts that drivers will experience the greatest amount of congestion on the roadways during the early evening commute periods before Thanksgiving. The best days to travel will include Thanksgiving Day and the following two days.

Sunday, this year Nov. 25, is considered one of the most congested travel days annually.