Thanksgiving travel: When to hit the road to avoid the holiday gridlock

The holiday travel season officially starts Friday and 3 million Floridians are expected to hit the road or head to the airport over the next week.

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AAA predicts this will be one of the busiest holidays in recent years with 71,000 more people expected to travel throughout Florida this year compared to last year. Most will be driving, AAA says.

Nationally, AAA predicts 49.1 million people will drive this Thanksgiving and 4.7 million people will fly. Another 1.6 million will travel another way, like taking a bus, train or cruise.

In Florida over the next week and a half, gas prices are expected to stay lower than they were for Thanksgiving last year.

The national average for a gallon of regular is $3.33, while it is $3.07 in Florida and $2.84 in Georgia, where Gov. Brian Kemp extended the gas tax suspension until Nov. 29.

Wednesday is expected to be the busiest day on the roads and travel times may take up to 80% longer than normal in some cities.

To avoid traffic, AAA recommends leaving early.

The best time to leave next Wednesday is before 11 a.m. The worst time to be on the road is between 2 p.m. and 6 p.m.

Most other days you should avoid gridlock if you are on the road before 10 a.m. or 11 a.m.

AAA expects to rescue over 360,000 stranded drivers during Thanksgiving week, so it recommends checking your tires, your battery, your brakes and your fluids before you leave the driveway.

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