Driving for Thanksgiving? Here’s the best time to get on the road

Local News

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (KTXL) — It’s the day before Thanksgiving and people are on the move as experts estimate that travel is almost back to how it was before the pandemic. 

But this year, more people are choosing to drive than fly, and AAA is advising those travelers to plan and be patient. 

“I haven’t seen my family in a while, so I’m looking forward to that,” Willie Harden said. 

After not seeing his family for a few months, Hardin is excited for Thanksgiving as he prepares to hit the road. 

“To the Bay Area, Berkeley and then Stockton,” Hardin said. 

And he’s not the only one. AAA is expecting more than 7 million Californians to be traveling this holiday. Travel volumes have recovered within 5% of pre-pandemic levels. 

Drivers are recommended to travel late at night or early in the morning to beat traffic. 

“Over 6 million of those people are going to be packing into their vehicles and hitting the road,” Aldo Vazques with AAA said. 

The most noticeable difference this year, however, are gas prices. 

“Right now, an average for a gallon of gas in California is going for about $4.70, which is up $0.01 from a week ago, up $0.16 from a month ago, but it is up $1.53 from a year ago,” Vazquez said. 

Even though prices are a lot higher than what people are used to paying at the pump, some drivers say the price is worth it. 

“The thing that brings us together is family, so if we prioritize that, then those things that bother us, like gas prices and politics and stuff like that, don’t get in the way of us having fun,” Hardin said. 

For others, it’s not worth the cost. 

“There’s a lot of people on the road, so it’s dangerous. Gas is really expensive, and I’m not getting along that well with certain people in my family,” resident William Greenfield said. 

Luckily for Rod Elliot, he does not have to go far this year, and he’s thankful for that. 

“We live in West Sacramento. We’re heading to Folsom where my sister lives and my parents also live in that part of town, so we’re all getting together at my sister’s house,” Elliot said. 

Regardless of whether drivers choose to travel or stay home, they can all agree family is most important during this holiday. 

AAA said the best time to drive home after Thanksgiving will be Sunday morning. 

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