best worst times July 4th trafficPhoto Credit: Shutterstock

According to an American Automobile Association (AAA) survey, a record-breaking 48.9 million Americans will travel for Independence Day weekend this year. This is the biggest number of projected travelers since the AAA began tracking travel in 2000. A whopping 1.9 million more people are planning a getaway for July 4 this year than in 2018.

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A significant majority of holiday weekend travelers—nearly 85 percent, or 41.4 million Americans—will be hitting the road.


How to Avoid the Worst of the July 4th Traffic


For the record-high 41.4 million Americans who will travel by automobile this Independence Day, INRIX, a global mobility analytics company, predicts drivers could face delays as much as four times a normal commute, with Wednesday, July 3 the worst day on the roads.

The busiest driving day will be Wednesday, but the worst days for travel depend on where you live, AAA says. The worst hours to be on the road for 10 major U.S. metropolitan areas. If you can plan on departing earlier or later than these travel windows, you'll be more likely to avoid starting or ending your holiday getaway stuck in a traffic jam:

  • Atlanta: Friday, July 5, 5:00-7:00 p.m.
  • Boston: Friday, July 5, 10:00 a.m.-12:00 p.m.
  • Chicago: Friday, July 5, 1:00-3:00 p.m.
  • Detroit: Wednesday, July 3, 2:00-4:00 p.m.
  • Houston: Thursday, July 4, 1:00-3:00 p.m.
  • Los Angeles: Wednesday, July 3, 11:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m.
  • New York: Wednesday, July 3, 1:45-3:45 p.m.
  • San Francisco: Wednesday, July 3, 1:30-2:30 p.m.
  • Seattle: Thursday, July 4, 12:00-2:00 p.m.
  • Washington DC: Sunday, July 7, 10:30 a.m.-2:30 p.m.

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Keep these windows in mind when you're booking a car rental for the holiday weekend. Be sure to plan a pickup time that lets you get out of town before the traffic hits.


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