Memorial Day travel: Best and worst times to drive

The unofficial start to summer is just around the corner.

Over 39 million people are expected to travel 50 miles or more from home this Memorial Day weekend, according to a new AAA report. That's an increase of 8.3% over 2021.

INRIX predicts drivers will encounter the longest travel delays before the holiday weekend, particularly during the afternoons on Thursday, May 26, and Friday, May 27. Drivers in major U.S. metros could experience double the travel times compared to a normal trip.

Analysts predicted the worst corridor to travel in Los Angeles would be southbound I-5 from Colorado Street to Florence Avenue, on May 27 between 4:45 p.m. and 6:45 p.m. Traffic there is expected to increase 123% over normal in just that time period alone.

"Even with a significant increase in gas prices, we expect a large jump in holiday driving compared to the last few years", says Bob Pishue, Transportation Analyst, INRIX. "Drivers should expect congestion on major roadways around big cities and popular destinations. Knowing when and where congestion will build can help drivers avoid the stress of sitting in traffic.

According to INRIX, these are the best and worst times to drive this week leading up to the holiday:

Best time: 1:00-8:00pm
Worst time: Before 6:00am or After 9:00pm

Best time: 12:00-7:00pm
Worst time: Before 7:00am or After 9:00pm

Best time: 1:00-6:00pm
Worst time: Before 10:00am

Best time: 1:00-6:00pm
Worst time: Before 10:00am

Best time: 1:00-4:00pm
Worst time: Before 11:00am

Despite historic gas prices, breaching the $4 mark in early March, 34.9 million people plan to travel by car, up 4.6% over last year, according to AAA. A greater portion of travelers are opting for air and other modes of travel than in previous years.