AAA encouraging drivers to travel early or late to avoid traffic.
MAX MCGEE: Now even locally, more people are traveling this Memorial Day weekend, mostly by car. WJZ is live tonight in Federal Hill. Rachel Menitoff getting us ready for the busy drive home tomorrow. Rachel.
RACHEL MENITOFF: Max, 800,000 Marylanders, to be exact, are driving this holiday weekend and some of the major challenges are high gas prices and of course, much more traffic than we're used to, especially during those peak commute times. With more than half of Americans vaccinated and CDC restrictions easing.
SHANNON WINGFIELD: My cousin is here with her children from New York, and we haven't seen each other over every year.
RACHEL MENITOFF: Millions of people, Shannon Wingfield included, are using this holiday weekend as a chance to reunite with family and friends.
SHANNON WINGFIELD: They missed out on so many holidays, and so they're taking advantage of it.
RACHEL MENITOFF: Travel is up 60% this year over last year, with about 1.6 million people taking to the sky. In the DMV area, 2.8 million people are opting for a road trip instead.
JEANETTE TEJEDA DE GOMEZ: And if you're going to be traveling, you want to try going early or late, especially if you're going over the Bay Bridge.
RACHEL MENITOFF: An added challenge for drivers, higher prices at the pump. The national average is a little bit more than $3 per gallon. The highest rates in seven years.
CORTEZ BROWN: I believe it, and here I am about to pay all that price.
RACHEL MENITOFF: Plus with increased traffic, travel times are expected to be about 20% longer than usual with possible delays during the afternoon and early evening.
- Traffic, this Memorial Day weekend, could be equal to traffic on Memorial Day weekend in the pre-pandemic world.
RACHEL MENITOFF: For some, it's the first time venturing out in quite a long time.
- They have been more than one year they're not traveling. I think it's that time.
RACHEL MENITOFF: And if you are driving home tonight or tomorrow, AAA suggests taking a break every two hours, trading off driving, and of course, leaving either early in the morning or later on at night. Live in Baltimore. I'm Rachel Menitoff for WJZ.