BALTIMORE (WJZ) — Road travel is expected to exceed pre-pandemic levels over the holidays.

AAA estimates more than 100 million people will hit the roads starting Thursday through January 2.

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After pressing pause on holiday celebrations in 2020 due to the pandemic, some people are making up for lost time this season.

Despite the new surge in COVID-19 cases, driving is the No. 1 way people plan to travel for the holidays, according to AAA.

The Maryland Department of Transportation said its roadside assistance crews see a 30% increase in calls this time of year.

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These emergency patrols have a crucial job: keeping highways clear. According to MDOT, for every minute a lane is blocked, it takes four minutes to restore normal traffic conditions.

WJZ Traffic Anchor Kristy Breslin, a Maryland native, has spent just over a decade covering traffic on Baltimore-area roads. She said timing is key during the holidays.

“Baltimore is definitely a tough spot because a lot of people are going to be traveling through to New York, going to D.C.,” Breslin said. “So, the heaviest levels of course are going to be around 95, 295 and even expecting to see a lot of traffic on the Beltway.”

If you plan to travel on Christmas Eve, AAA recommends setting out before 1 p.m.

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Christmas Day is expected to be the least congested time on the roads.

Cristina Mendez