Thanksgiving holiday traffic: best and worst times to travel

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SAN DIEGO -- More than 55 million travelers are making plans to kick off the holiday season with a trip of 50 miles or more away from home this Thanksgiving, according to AAA.

The vast majority of those, about 49.3 million people, will get to their destination by car, which is nearly 3 percent more than 2018, AAA added.

“Strong economic fundamentals are motivating Americans to venture out this holiday in near-record numbers," said Paula Twidale, vice president, AAA Travel. "Consumer spending remains strong, thanks to increasing wages, disposable income and household wealth, and travel remains one of their top priorities for the holiday season.”

For those traveling to or around Los Angeles, the worst time to travel will be Wednesday from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. Drivers can expect 3.5 times the traffic of a normal day with rush hour traffic.

Although the peak will be Wednesday, travelers should expect much heavier than normal congestion throughout the week.

The best time to drive this week in or near L.A., meanwhile, will be 2 a.m. Wednesday, according to Google. But if you cannot leave that early, traffic should subside by 6 a.m. Thursday.

San Diegans planning to hit the roads will also be hit by rain.

“The only thing that’s going to keep you from crashing in the rain is slowing down,” says California Highway Patrol Public Information Officer Jake Sanchez.

CHP officers are stepping up enforcement Wednesday through Sunday. You’ll see more officers across Interstate 5 and Interstate 8 from the border to Orange County and Arizona.

Sanchez says officers are monitoring the roads for “people that are driving aggressively or erratically, higher speeds, not wearing their seatbelts, texting.

"Those are all those things our officers will be out there looking for, obviously impaired drivers as well," Sanchez said.

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