More than 55 million travelers are making plans to kick off the holiday season with a trip of 50 miles or more from home this Thanksgiving, according to the latest figures from AAA.
That makes Thanksgiving 2019 the second-highest holiday travel volume since AAA began tracking in 2000, trailing only the record set in 2005.
But holiday travel times are also some of the most dangerous. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 3,399 traffic fatalities have occurred on Thanksgiving and Christmas from 2015 to 2018.
ValuePenguin, a personal finance research and analysis website, gathered federal data on traffic fatalities over holiday periods for Thanksgiving and Christmas. It determined the deadliest U.S. highways and interstates for those travel periods.
Here are some of the company’s key findings:
- The five deadliest roads for Thanksgiving and Christmas travel — Interstate 10, I-95, I-80, I-35 and I-20 — accounted for 151 deaths from 2015 to 2018.
- These roadways account for 15% of the holiday travel deaths on the entire National Highway System despite making up only 6% of total mileage.
- Traffic volume along these highways likely has a big impact on the high number of deaths. I-10, the most dangerous road, traverses the third-highest population among interstates.
- Roughly one in every three fatal holiday-season traffic accidents involved a drunken driver.
Here are the five deadliest highways for holiday travel:
- I-95 (Florida to Maine)
- I-80 (California to New Jersey)
- I-35 (Texas to Minnesota)
- I-20 (Texas to South Carolina)
- I-10 (California to Florida)
According to AAA, 1.6 million more people will travel during this year’s holiday season than last year, a 2.9% increase.
Most holiday travelers will drive to their destinations. INRIX, a global transportation analytics company, expects Wednesday afternoon to be the worst travel period nationally, with trips taking as much as four times longer than normal in major cities, including Atlanta.
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