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AAA: 2023 Thanksgiving travel in Alabama, other states predicted to be one of the busiest on record


Alabamians traveling for the Thanksgiving holiday might experience more traffic than usual this year. AAA reports this weekend to be the third busiest Thanksgiving holiday travel period of all time. The 2023 ranking follows only 2005 and 2019, respectively.

This year, AAA says 55.4 million people will travel over 50 miles. This is a 2.3% increase, including a forecast of 49.13 million people traveling by car.

AAA Alabama spokesperson Clay Ingram said this is because people are more comfortable traveling in a post-pandemic world. He also said traveling for Thanksgiving is the busiest right before the holiday.

“The most popular day for heading out is the Wednesday before Thanksgiving, and that's typically one of the busiest travel days of the year for us,” he said. And then coming back, as you might imagine, Sunday is typically the busiest day. Although there in recent years there have been a fair number of people that return home Monday following Thanksgiving.”

Ingram additionally said traveling in the early morning or after the evening rush hour traffic has subsided are the best ways to avoid heavy traffic around this time of year.

“Even if you're traveling a different day, you want to try to avoid kind of the heart of the day, late morning to late afternoon. The best times to travel on any of those days are going to be kind of early in the morning, or in the evening after 6:00 p.m. or so, because most people are already at their destination by then,” Ingram said.

He also said travelers should get their vehicles checked prior to leaving for the holidays. Ingram specified that belts and hoses on tend be neglected in upkeep because of how they deteriorate in comparison to other parts of the vehicle.

“You want to get your car checked out in advance if at all possible. Take it to a certified technician, and let them check your tire tread, your tire pressure, your fluid levels, your wiper blades, all your lights and blinkers and everything all around the vehicle,” Ingram said. “Another very important thing is your battery,” he continued.

The Ingram said the main tip he has for holiday travelers is to plan ahead. He, said for driver specifically, this will help reduce potential distractions.

“If you're driving, plan ahead a little bit to eliminate, or at least reduce, potential distractions for the driver,” he explained. “Let someone else in the vehicle handle all the other tasks. Whether it's handing out snacks, answering the phone, or reading a map, changing the radio station, whatever it might be. Let someone else handle those things so that the driver can keep focus on the road at all times.”

To read the full AAA 2023 Thanksgiving holiday travel prediction report, click here.

Andrea Tinker is a student intern at Alabama Public Radio. She is majoring in News Media with a minor in African American Studies at The University of Alabama. In her free time, Andrea loves to listen to all types of music, spending time with family, and reading about anything pop culture related.

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