This year could be the busiest year on the roads during Thanksgiving since 2007. AAA says rising wages and increased employment rates are contributing factors, as well as low gas prices. A gallon of the good stuff may cost eleven cents more right now than it cost in 2015, but Americans have still saved more than $28 billion so far at the pumps this year over last year. All that spendable cash and cheap fuel means 48.7 million American will travel 50 miles or more from their homes in the next few days; 89 percent will do so by car.
"One million more Americans than last year will carve out time to visit with friends and family this Thanksgiving," AAA President and CEO Marshall Doney said in a press release. "Most will travel on the tried and true holiday road trip, thanks to gas prices that are holding at close to $2 per gallon. Others will fly, take the bus or set off on a cruise to celebrate with their loved ones."
That many motors on the road means traffic could get a little hectic this year. Google Maps took a look at last year's travel patterns and determined the best time to head out for the holiday is the Sunday before Thanksgiving. Since that perfect day already came and went, the New York Times used the Google Maps tool to compile the best and worst times for folks to travel to and from the largest metropolitan areas in the country. It found that Wednesday afternoon is a bad time to try and make it into almost any city. Saturday will also most likely be a rough day for commuters From Atlanta to Washington D.C.
More cars also make roads more dangerous. This year has already been particularly deadly, with traffic fatalities rising over 10 percent in the first half of 2016. So if you're one of the 48.7 million Americans taking a road trip this Thursday, plan on leaving early, driving slow, and driving safe. For more ways to drive safe this holiday season, check out some holiday driving tips we can all agree on.