BALTIMORE (WJZ) — A sea of brake lights. The weather is causing major speed bumps in the holiday getaway as more and more people try to get a head start on Thanksgiving.
Andrea Fujii has more as travelers get out of town.
Wednesday may be known as the busiest travel day of the year, but Tuesday night was just as big a nightmare as hundreds of thousands of people battled nasty weather to get away.
A wet, miserable soaking night kicked off the holiday getaway.
“It’s just really bad roads and everything I’d normally take that would be fine is really backed up,” said David Tablada.
“It took me about an hour 45, an hour 50 minutes to come here from Columbia,” John Maliszewski said, adding that the drive normally takes him 25 minutes.
Holiday travelers hoping for an early escape were in for a rough ride.
“Tuesdays are very heavy. It seems to be a trend that a lot of travelers are hitting the roads on Tuesday—not really opposed to Wednesday, but in addition to Wednesday,” said Teri Moss, Maryland Transportation Authority.
Higher gas prices than last year aren’t stopping anyone. AAA says 3.5 percent more people are stuffing the roads this holiday season compared to last year. That’s almost one million Marylanders, though most people are staying close, traveling between 250 and 400 miles.
Wednesday is expected to be the big day for air travelers and people traveling by train. But at Penn Station, people are already getting a jump-start.
“[We reserved tickets] about a month in advance,” said Andre Estrada.
A smart move, since tickets are going fast. Nearly a dozen routes were sold out for Wednesday. But some say anything beats the highway headaches.
“The train just goes. It keeps going,” Tina Walter said.
And those highway headaches aren’t over. Wednesday, 40,000 more people than usual are expected to pass through Maryland toll booths.
The Maryland Transportation Authority has suspended all construction projects on the roads throughout the weekend to try and make it easier on drivers.