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Traveling tips before you hit the road this Thanksgiving holiday

An estimated 4.4 million Southern Californians are expected to travel for the Thanksgiving holiday this year and roughly 3.8 million of them will be going by car.

“Of course the negative side is that there’s going to be a lot of traffic out there and especially because San Diego is the number destination for Southern California,” said Marie Montgomery, a spokesperson for the Automobile Club of Southern California. “So even if you’re staying in town, you’re going to have a lot of company.”

The Tuesday and Wednesday before Thanksgiving are the worst times to travel, she said and advised that if you have to leave on those days, leave as early as you can.

Highway 15 shot with decent traffic interstate 15 I-15.png
Roland Lizarondo
A view of Interstate 15 with moderate traffic in San Diego on Nov. 19, 2021.

She also warned drivers should keep their eyes on the road.

“Make sure that you're not driving distracted if you have passengers, let them handle the technology," Montgomery said. "Let them handle the navigation. Don’t be doing it yourself. We always like to say at the Auto Club, ‘Don’t drive intoxicated. Don’t drive in-text-icated.’”

AAA anticipates its roadside assistance will respond to over 52,000 calls for help this week. Montgomery said people to check their cars before getting on the road.

"Check the air in their tires, check that the condition of their tires was good," she said. "Check their fluid levels, check their battery to make sure it doesn’t die. Those are our top type of maintenance problems."

RELATED: High gas prices driven by simple economics, SDSU prof says

Gas prices should also be factored into your travel plans.

“Unfortunately, this Thanksgiving holiday is going to be the most expensive as far as gas prices that we have ever had,” Montgomery said.

To maximize your gas, make sure you’re not carrying any extra-heavy cargo. Also, utilize your car’s fuel economy feature, and try to anticipate and ease out of stops.