AAA: Over 1.2 million Tennesseans expected to travel for Turkey Day

(AAA) AAA predicts 54.6 million Americans will travel 50 miles or more from home this Thanksgiving.  This national figure remains slightly below pre-pandemic levels. The same travel trend is seen in Tennessee as this year is forecast to be the busiest Thanksgiving since 2019.  

AAA forecasts more than 1.2 million Tennesseans will travel 50 miles or more for Thanksgiving. That’s 16,000 (1.3%) more Tennessee travelers than last year’s holiday and only 6,700 (0.5%) less than 2019.

TennesseeTotal TravelAuto TravelAir TravelOther Modes
2022 Forecast1,269,8151,220,40938,46410,941
2021 Figures1,252,9511,207,83235,9919,127
2020 Figures1,110,8631,088,90820,0961,859
2019 Figures1,276,5201,221,29841,41213,810

89% of Holiday Travelers will Drive

Despite higher gas prices, 89% of all Thanksgiving travelers will drive. AAA forecasts 48.65 million Americans will set out for a holiday road trip. That’s 203,000 more drivers than last year.

In Tennessee, 1.2 million will take a road trip; an increase of 12,000 people from last year’s holiday.

Gas Prices to Test Record Highs for the Holiday

Pump prices have been fluctuating this month and could set new record highs for the holiday. In Tennessee, the highest daily average price for Thanksgiving was set back in 2012, at $3.18 per gallon. On Monday, drivers paid an average price of $3.30 per gallon. That’s 20 cents more than what Tennessee drivers paid last Thanksgiving ($3.10).

“Higher gas prices don’t seem to be enough to stop people from traveling to be with family and friends,” said Megan Cooper, spokeswoman, AAA – The Auto Club Group. “We’ve found that when gas prices are high, travelers look to offset the added cost by spending less on a hotel, shopping or dining out.”

Busiest Days to Travel

If you are hitting the road for the holidays, leave early. Travelers should expect much heavier than normal congestion Monday-Wednesday afternoon and early evening. Traffic will be lighter during the morning and late evening hours and on Thanksgiving Day.

Date Worst travel time Best travel time 
11/23/22 11:00 AM – 8:00 PM Before 8:00 AM, After 8:00 PM 
11/24/22 11:00 AM – 3:00 PM Before 11:00 AM, After 6:00 PM 
11/25/22 4:00 PM – 8:00 PM Before 11:00 AM, After 8:00 PM 
11/26/22 4:00 PM – 8:00 PM Before 2:00 PM, After 8:00 PM 
11/27/22 4:00 PM – 8:00 PM Before 11:00 AM, After 8:00 PM 

AAA Expects to Rescue 411,000 stranded motorists

More than 411,000 drivers will need AAA roadside assistance during the holiday weekend. The most common reasons are for dead batteries, flat tires and lockouts. AAA encourages drivers to get a full vehicle inspection before they hit the road to check everything from the tires, oil, air filter and wiper blades. AAA has a list of certified mechanics at AAA.com/AutoRepair.

AAA Reminds Drivers to ‘Move Over for Me’

With more people sharing the roads, the danger is multiplied for those on the roadside. AAA reminds motorists to slow down and move over for first responders and tow trucks. We also ask that you extend the same courtesy to people with disabled vehicles.

“We want to make sure all holiday travelers, tow truck drivers and first responders make it home safely this Thanksgiving,” said Cooper. “Please be courteous and move over for flashing lights, whether it’s a tow truck or a disabled vehicle with its hazard lights on.”

Click here to learn more about The Auto Club Group’s ‘Move Over for Me’ campaign

About Jim Harris

Jim Harris has been WYSH's News & Sports Director since 2000. In addition to reporting local news, he is the play-by-play voice for Clinton High School football, boys' and girls' basketball and baseball. Catch Jim live weekdays beginning at 6:30 am for live local news, sports, weather and traffic plus the Community Bulletin Board, shenanigans with Ron Meredith and more on the Country Club Morning Show on WYSH. Jim lives in Clinton with his wife Kelly and daughter Carolina, and cats Oliver, Bow and Libby.

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