Pack some patience if you’re on the roads this holiday season


DURHAM, N.C. (WNCN) – Travel experts say more than 100 million Americans will travel for the Christmas holiday and about 97 million of those people are traveling by car.

Wednesday was the unofficial start of the holiday driving season and industry experts are predicting travel times could be two to three times longer than normal.

So after packing your clothes, pack some patience.

“Leave yourself plenty of extra time,” said Stephen Mariconti, a holiday traveler.

According to INRIX, a traffic analytics company, drivers will experience the greatest amount of congestion before the holiday week, Wednesday and Thursday. In some parts of the country, the drive could take three times as long.

“It’s like a 12-hour, 12-14 hour drive from Boston to down here,” said Marguerite Mariconti. “So we said, yet, we’re going to get on the plane.”

The Mariconti’s flew to Durham Wednesday from Boston.

“To try to beat the worst traffic that we expected on the 22nd,” said Victoria Mariconti.

“We wanted to have more time to spend here,” said Stephen Mariconti. “It would take us at least a day or two to get here, and a day or two to get back. So we’d only have a couple of days to spend here with our son and daughter in law.”

For those driving, expect to spend a little more on gas this year.

AAA says the national average for the month is 28 cents more than this time last year.

The North Carolina Department of Transportation is hoping to make your drive a little smoother.

The Department says it will suspend most construction work on major routes across the state to reduce delays.

While you should watch out for lane closures, keep an eye out for officers ready to catch drivers who are speeding.

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