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Highest number of Thanksgiving travelers in more than a decade

Hollywood MD- If you’re planning to hit the road over the Thanksgiving holiday, you certainly won’t be alone. AAA is predicting nearly 51 million Americans will travel this holiday—that’s up more than 3-percent from last year.

According to AAA, this holiday will be the highest Thanksgiving travel volume nationwide—and in Maryland—since 2005. One million Marylanders add to that national total.

“Across the country, and in Maryland, this Thanksgiving weekend is expected to be the busiest for the holiday in more than 10 years,” said Ragina Cooper Averella, manager of Public and Government Affairs at AAA Mid-Atlantic. “A strong economy and labor market are generating rising incomes, driving up the confidence in consumers who are more willing to spend on travel this year.”

Despite higher gas prices, most holiday travelers are still hitting the roads. And even more travelers are flying this year compared to the past several years. “Flying for the holiday is not as expensive as other years with average airfares the lowest in five years,” commented Averella.

The national average for a gallon of regular gasoline is $2.56—Maryland’s average is slightly lower at $2.52 a gallon.

“At a time of year when gas prices typically decline, motorists are finding higher prices at the pump compared to last year,” Averella stated.  “Unfortunately, motorists filling up for their upcoming holiday trip will likely not find relief at the pump. However, once the holiday weekend is over prices should start to trend downward, as cooler weather becomes the norm and gasoline demand declines.”

With the uptick in holiday travel, you can expect Maryland State Police to be out in full force. MSP will have extra troopers on patrol and using several initiatives to make sure traffic is moving and you get to your destination safely.

Starting Tuesday, Nov. 21, troopers will be keeping a close eye on interstate traffic and will respond quickly to accidents in an effort to minimize delays. Troopers will also be working at rest areas to deter crime and assist travelers who are driving through the state.

In addition to working enforcement in cooperation with local police departments, troopers will be working closely with personnel from the Maryland Department of Transportation State Highway Administration. SHA provides significant help arranging detours at crash sites and conducting courtesy patrols to assist motorists.
Drivers can check travel conditions and delays before traveling. SHA provides up-to-date traffic and road conditions at roads.maryland.gov, or chart.state.md.us.  Traffic conditions are also available at md511.org, or by safely dialing 511 on your cell phone.

The Thanksgiving holiday travel period is defined as Wednesday, Nov. 22 through Sunday, Nov. 26.

Have a happy and safe Thanksgiving!

Contact Joy Shrum at j.shrum@thebaynet.com

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