PORTLAND (WGME) – Holiday travelers are hitting the road this week, and it’s expected to be one of the busiest years on the road ahead of Thanksgiving.
AAA says this Thanksgiving is expected to be the third busiest on record since it started keeping track in 2000.
They expect a bulk of Americans, 89 percent, will travel on the roads this year, and that traffic will increase 2.3 percent.
With all that added traffic comes added danger.
Maine has snow and rain in the forecast on Wednesday, which is expected to be the busiest and worst day for traveling for the holiday.
AAA says the first snowfalls of the season tend to bring a rash of crashes, as drivers re-adjust to driving in slippery conditions.
“Heavy traffic and poor weather conditions only compound the dangers and require each of us to slow down, increase the distance between the vehicles we follow, signal our intentions early and stay focused,” Maine State Police Lieutenant Bruce Scott said.
“During the last five years, six people died in motor vehicle crashes over this holiday weekend,” Lauren Stewart of the Maine Bureau of Highway Safety said. “Let’s plan ahead to ensure everyone stays alive and arrives at their destination.”
“An empty chair at the table for Thanksgiving is one too many,” AAA Northern New England Traffic Safety Education Specialist Tom Baran said. “Make sure you drive carefully. Get there safely.”
AAA expects traffic will be the heaviest Wednesday from 2 p.m. to 6 p.m.
If you do have to drive Wednesday, try to do it before 11 a.m.
On Thanksgiving Day, the worst times to travel are between 11 a.m. and 3 p.m.
Try to head out before 10 a.m. or after 5 p.m. that day.
As for heading home, Friday’s traffic is worst between noon and 4 p.m. Try to leave before noon.
On Saturday and Sunday, try to leave before noon on those days as well.