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AAA forecasts record-breaking holiday travel

Staff Report • Dec 19, 2019 at 9:30 AM

More Americans than ever on record — 115.6 million — are expected to travel this holiday season, according to AAA.

The holiday travel period is defined as Dec. 21-Jan. 1. That number is the most in nearly 20 years since AAA began tracking in 2000, and is 4.3 million more than last year.

More than 104 million of those holiday travelers will drive to their destinations. INRIX, a global transportation analytics company, expects delays to be the worst on Dec. 26, with afternoon delays reaching nearly double congestion-free drive times in major U.S. cities.

“Holiday cheer is at an all-time high this year, with unemployment at historically low levels, and noted improvements in both disposable income and household net worth,” said Paula Twidale, vice president of AAA Travel, in a press release. “Travelers should be getting used to crowded highways and airports, as this marks the eighth straight year of new record-high travel volumes for the year-end holidays.”

All travelers

• Total: 115.6 million (3.9% more than last year)

• Tennessee: 2.76 million (4.4% more than last year and the most on record)

Automobiles

• Total: 104.8 million (3.9% more than last year)

• Tennessee: 2.59 million (4.4% more than last year)

Planes

• Total: 6.97 million (4.9% more than last year)

• Tennessee: 74,000 (5% more than last year)

Trains, buses and cruise ships

• Total: 3.81 million (3% more than last year)

• Tennessee: 97,500 (3.7% more than last year)

Prevent road rage

The holidays can be a stressful time, but AAA encourages drivers to maintain a cool head and focus on reaching their destination safely. Here are a few tips to prevent road rage:

• Do not offend: Never cause another driver to change their speed or direction. That means not forcing another driver to use their brakes, or turn the steering wheel in response to something you have done.

• Be tolerant and forgiving: The other driver may just be having a really bad day. Assume that it is not personal.

• Do not respond: Avoid eye contact, don’t make gestures, maintain space around your vehicle and contact 9-1-1 if needed.

To the rescue

More than 853,000 motorists will call AAA for assistance at the roadside this holiday season. Dead batteries, flat tires and lockouts will be the leading reasons AAA members will experience car trouble.

AAA recommends motorists take their vehicles to a trusted repair facility to perform any needed maintenance before heading out on a road trip. Also, remember to slow down and move over for stopped emergency vehicles at the roadside; it’s the law in all 50 states.