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AAA Mid-Atlantic forecasting heavy Christmas traffic

Published: Dec. 20, 2021 at 6:00 PM EST
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AUGUSTA COUNTY, Va. (WHSV) - As the week goes on, you can expect to see more cars out on the roads.

AAA Mid-Atlantic says they expect holiday travel to be back up this year, closer to rates in 2019. They report Thanksgiving travel was up this year from 2020.

“There’s just a lot of pent-up demand to get back to seeing loved ones and friends and making those memories again. That’s what we saw at Thanksgiving - back to near 2019 levels. That’s what we’re expecting for the holidays as well,” said AAA spokesperson Morgan Dean.

Dean said the pandemic made road trips more popular. Instead of air travel, many people opted for driving, where they could take their mask off and control their environment when it came to sanitization.

“Road trips got to be very, very popular over the last year and a half even on top of their popularity ahead of time. It’s not a surprise that so many people traveled by car for Thanksgiving,” Dean said.

If you’re traveling this week, you’ll likely run into traffic. Dean said about 91% of this week’s travelers will be on the road.

Patience will be key, Dean said.

“As we saw with Thanksgiving, it doesn’t take much to start a backup when there’s so much volume on the roads,” he said.

If you want to avoid the traffic, you should try to travel early in the morning or late at night. Dean said he does not think the omicron variant or high gas prices will keep drivers at home.

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