Good Luck with Memorial Day Traffic This Weekend

More people are hitting the road this weekend despite the highest gas prices since 2014.

Despite the calendar telling us summer officially begins on June 21, Memorial Day weekend is the unofficial beginning of summer. AAA reports that nearly 42 million Americans will hit the road this weekend, more than in the past dozen years.

As a result, there’s going to be traffic—and a lot of it. The worst time for traffic is right now, as regular commuters mix with vacationers getting an early start on the long weekend, hitting the road Thursday and Friday. The worst time to be on the road in the Boston area, where I live, was Thursday between 4:30 and 6:30 p.m. when AAA said to expect trips to take nearly twice as long as usual. (And that’s not even including runaway horses on the highway.) I can’t verify whether was true or not. I was avoiding traffic on back roads on my motorcycle.

Los Angeles can expect similar delays between 3:30 and 5:30 p.m. on Friday. Detroit should be slightly better, with travel taking 1.5 times longer between 4:00 and 5:30 p.m. Unfortunately, New York City can expect the evening commute to take 2.7 times as long as normal.

This higher-than-normal amount of travel is occurring despite gas prices being the highest they’ve been since 2014. Gas prices averaged $2.72 in April, an increase of 33 cents from last year due to expensive crude oil, record gasoline demand, and shrinking global supply. But lower hotel, airline, and car rental costs are helping to offset the total cost of vacations.

AAA expects to rescue 340,000 stricken motorists this weekend. You can avoid being part of that statistic by making sure your car is in good shape before traveling. Make sure your battery and cooling system are in good condition and check your tires for any problems before you hit the road.