ATLANTA — The start of summer travel kicked off Thursday as families hit the road to beat the Memorial Day traffic rush.
According to the Georgia Department of Transportation (GDOT), the busiest time for drivers is Friday afternoon. Traffic for Saturday will be moderate, and it’s expected to be light on Sunday and Monday.
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Channel 2′s Elizabeth Rawlins was live on Interstate 75 in Cherokee County Thursday on WSB Tonight at 11 p.m.
Traffic experts suggest the best time to drive is during the overnight hours. Of course, it’s not ideal, but drivers can expect north and southbound delays during all hours of the day.
Holiday rush hour started Thursday afternoon as many drivers started hitting the road for Memorial Day weekend. One traveler, Vanessa Jouber, said it takes nearly an hour to get home, but now that time has changed.
“Typically, it takes about 45 minutes to get home, and I just looked at my GPS, and it’s going to be an hour and 20 minutes,” said Jouber.
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According to AAA, more than 40 million people are traveling this weekend, most of whom are driving between Thursday and Friday. And compared to last year, gas prices are down, giving another incentive for people to drive.
“I live in Henry County, so when I was leaving, gas was $2.99,” said Zach Deckner, a traveler.
WSB Traffic Reporter Doug Turnbull just got off the helicopter Thursday and said things would start bubbling up.
“We were dealing with a handful today, and the Friday ride is really going to start bubbling up,” he said.
Turnbull recommends if you haven’t left already, the early and overnight hours may be the best way to avoid traffic.
“Hitting the road at 10 a.m. on a Friday, you are not getting a head start. You either want to leave really early Friday or really late, or just early on Saturday.
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Meanwhile, for those staying at home, the best days to venture out of the house and around metro Atlanta will be Saturday and Sunday.
“I plan on staying home; I don’t want to get into this any more than I have to,” said Jouber.
It may be an uphill battle for the next two days, but drivers will likely have a smoother ride when they return.
“Even Monday, that’s technically the end of the weekend. There are so many different lengths of vacations. That Monday is not going to be near of a bear returning as Thursday and Friday,” said Turnbull.
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