Travelers hit the road at the end of holiday weekend

WASHINGTON — It’s estimated more than 50 million Americans hit the road for Thanksgiving, leaving sometime between Tuesday and Thursday.

With the holiday weekend winding down, if they haven’t gone back home yet, most of them need to do so now.

The rest stop on northbound Interstate 95 between D.C. and Baltimore was bustling with travelers in need of bathroom breaks, their cars tagged with license plates primarily from states up and down the east coast.

Traffic was heavy, but at least it was moving, which is all anyone could ask for.

Charles, who was riding back to Connecticut from North Carolina with his family said getting down to North Carolina last week took 12 hours. At this rate, he was hopeful for a 9 hour return drive.

Many people driving home got a big boost from technology.

“Here’s my son,” said Bill Mullen of Pennsylvania. “He’s directing me around traffic jams and everything else with his app.”

“If there’s heavy traffic it usually takes me around it,” echoed Raymond Davis, who was headed home to New York City from Virginia. “You know, or if there’s an accident it usually takes me around it.”

The other strategy being used to avoid traffic is less scientific, but just as proven.

“The earlier the better,” Davis said. “That’s all I can say.”

“Just get up early, start early, and try to beat the traffic home” Charles said. When he admitted things were moving well in the early going he asked “You’re not going to jinx me are you?”

His daughter joking with him, “No, we don’t want to jinx it.”

If simply asking about good traffic could lead to massive backups later, Jamie Morton had the perfect ingredients to keep her two kids happy on the trip back to Delran, New Jersey, just outside Philadelphia.

“We’ve got some extra movies and some snacks in the car, and we’re just hoping for a quick drive,” Morton said. “It’s only a few hours.”

If she did get stuck anywhere, she already decided the time was going to be used productively.

“We’re just going to use it as extra family time,” Morton said. “That’s it. We’ll use it as chitchat and hang out time.”

Below is a map of current traffic conditions throughout the region. For traffic updates, visit WTOP’s traffic center.

John Domen

John started working at WTOP in 2016 after having grown up in Maryland listening to the station as a child. While he got his on-air start at small stations in Pennsylvania and Delaware, he's spent most of his career in the D.C. area, having been heard on several local stations before coming to WTOP.

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