HORRY COUNTY, SC (WMBF) - Nearly 50 million travelers are expected to journey 50 miles or more this holiday weekend, according to AAA Travel. More than 590,000 of those travelers are South Carolinians. It is likely gas prices are the reason since drivers are seeing the lowest Thanksgiving gas prices in five years.
So you should expect some rough traffic during your trip. This year, no matter what route you take, you need to take the weather into consideration as well. The Wednesday before Thanksgiving is one of the busiest and most stressful days for drivers everywhere.
Wednesday, drivers need to prepare for low visibility, slick conditions, pooling water and a higher risk of accidents. Last year, according to South Carolina Department of Transportation, the busiest roadways on the Wednesday before Thanksgiving were Highway 501, I-95 and Highway 17. Between 7 a.m. and 11 p.m. thousands upon thousands of drivers passed through each hour. And in 2013, on all of these roadways, the speed was drastically reduced because of congestion.
There is also less traffic on these roads the next day. So if you don't have that far to drive, it might be worth waking up early on Thanksgiving Day to make the trek instead of battling the drivers and the weather on Wednesday.
The rain might be a damper on your holiday travel plans but those cheap gas prices should cheer you up. Wednesday's national average is $2.81 per gallon of regular gasoline. Prices have been consistently cheaper in South Carolina. Wednesday's average in the Palmetto state is $2.59. AAA predicts gas prices should stay low through the Thanksgiving weekend and will continue to drop through the winter holiday. The U.S. is producing a extra supply domestically, which is helping the price drop. AAA predicts that prices could drop another five or 15 cents in the coming weeks, as long as nothing unexpected happens in the market.
And it's a good thing gas prices are so low, because other travel costs are on the rise. You'll see moderately higher prices with airfare, hotels and weekend car rentals through the winter.
More people are flying this year as well, compared to 2013. There are weather advisories for each airline because of today's weather. So be sure you're constantly checking those flights before heading to the airport.