Traveling for the Fourth of July? Well, buckle up and brace yourself for traffic of pre-pandemic proportions.
According to an AAA report, Boston will see the second-highest Independence Day travel volume on record, trailing only 2019. Drivers in the Boston area are expected to experience nearly three times the delays when compared with typical drive times.
The report projected that 47.7 million Americans will hit the road for Independence Day this year, despite gas prices hovering above $3 per gallon.
“Higher gas prices won’t deter road trippers this summer," AAA spokesperson Jeanette McGee said. "In fact, we’re expecting record-breaking levels of car travel this July Fourth."
Overall, just 2.5% fewer Americans are expected to travel this year compared to Independence Day in 2019. This represents an increase of nearly 40% compared to last year, when total travel fell to 34.2 million.
INRIX, in collaboration with AAA, predicts drivers will experience the worst congestion heading into the holiday weekend as commuters leave work early and mix with holiday travelers, along with the return trip on Monday mid-day.
Boston traffic is estimated to reach peak congestion, about 330% above average, on Monday, July 5, between 3 p.m. and 5 p.m., according to the report. This is the second-highest projected spike in traffic among metro areas in the country during the holiday period, following the San Francisco area.
The report added that the Boston area is expected to be the ninth-most-popular destination for the holiday. The top five projected destinations are Orlando, Anaheim, Denver, Las Vegas and Seattle.
The worst times to drive nationwide include Thursday from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m., Friday from 4 p.m. to 5 p.m., and Saturday from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. The best times to drive are after 7 p.m. Thursday, before noon Friday, after 2 p.m. Saturday and before 1 p.m. Monday.