The Best and Worst Times to Drive This 4th of July Weekend, According to AAA

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the price of a gallon of gas may still be hovering around $5but that’s not stopping people from hitting the road for the upcoming July 4 weekend. In fact, experts at the American Automobile Association (AAA, aka “Triple A”) expect 47.9 million people to travel at least 50 miles from home between June 30 and July 4—out of which, a potentially record-breaking 42 million people will be going by car.

With so many vehicles on the road, unless you embark on your trip in the dead of night, you’re bound to hit some traffic along the way—especially if you’re exiting a large city. Fortunately, AAA has looked at maps and travel trends, crunched the numbers, and come up with their predictions for the best and worst times to travel by car over the holiday weekend.

The best and worst times to travel by car during the 4th of July weekend

If your July 4 weekend travel plans currently involve getting in the car and winging it, you may want to reconsider—especially if you’re leaving on the Thursday or Friday before the holiday, which AAA anticipates will be peak traffic days. Instead, take into account what their experts predict will likely be the best and worst times to hit the road that weekend:

Thursday, June 30

  • worst time: 2—8 p.m.
  • best time: Before 7 a.m. / After 8 p.m.

Friday, July 1

  • worst time: 12—9 p.m.
  • best time: Before 10 a.m./ After 9 p.m.

Saturday, July 2

  • worst time: 2—4 p.m.
  • best time: Before 12 pm/ After 7 pm

Sunday, July 3

  • Low congestion expected all day

Monday, July 4

  • Low congestion expected all day

It’s great that AAA is optimistic about the lack of traffic on Sunday and Monday, but if they’re predicting record-breaking car travel, people are going to have to drive back home at some point. So when are they expected to make their return trip? turns out, MarketWatch had the same questionand got in touch with AAA for an answer.

“Everything about the Fourth is building up to the fireworks, which culminates July 4 evening at 9:30 at night,” Andrew Gross, an AAA Inc. rep, told the finance site. “We suspect that probably a lot of folks are just extending this holiday into the next day [Tuesday, July 5].”

Unfortunately, Gross didn’t elaborate on the best and worst times to travel on July 5, so you’ll have to use your best judgment—or, take another day off and leave on July 6.

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