More than 102 million people will be on the nation's roadways this holiday season, marking a 4.4% increase over last year and an all-time record high since AAA began tracking holiday vehicle travel in 2001.
In addition, Inrix, a global mobility analytics company, forecasts road travel times in the most congested cities to be as much as four times longer than a normal trip, notes AAA. Commercial fleets should be aware that the congestion is anticipated to begin on Wednesday, Dec. 19 — with Thursday, Dec. 20 slated as the nation's worst travel day, based on Inrix historical and travel trend data.
Atlanta ranks first for anticipated worst traffic problems over the holiday period with an estimated increase of four times from the usual commuting time. New York City comes in second with delays expected to result in three and three quarter times the normal trip.
Other cities ranking among the top five for congestion and delays include Boston (three and a half times), Houston (three and a quarter times) and Detroit (three times).
The Inrix data notes that motorists in five other major metros — Seattle, Chicago, Los Angeles, San Francisco, and Washington, D.C. — should also be prepared for longer than usual times drive times.
With the increase in traffic, fleet drivers should be aware that they might find impatient or aggressive drivers on the road. In addition, commercial drivers should expect to encounter more stalled vehicles and towing on the highways and byways during the holiday season.
AAA anticipates it will come to the aid of over 960,000 motorists this holiday period. The top vehicle problems drivers will experience include dead batteries, flat tires and lockouts.
In addition, some 46% of all crashes involving bad weather occur in the winter — making it all the more critical for fleet drivers to be vigilant and alert on the roads this holiday period.