Millions of SoCal residents expected to travel today ahead of Thanksgiving

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LOS ANGELES (CNS) - Despite pleas from state and local officials urging residents not to travel for Thanksgiving due to the coronavirus, millions of Southern Californians are still expected to do just that, with this afternoon anticipated to be the busiest time on Southland freeways.

The Automobile Club of Southern California estimated that 3.86 million Southern California residents will be traveling for the holiday weekend, a 13% drop from last year. Auto Club officials noted it's the largest year-over- year decline in travel since the 2008 recession.

The vast majority of travelers are expected to go by car, although about 269,000 are likely to fly, according to the Auto Club.

"This Thanksgiving will be different than in past years. Rather than spending time indoors with friends and family, many people may choose to spend the holiday with their own households or take road trips to enjoy time in the great outdoors," Filomena Andre, the Auto Club's vice president for travel products and services," said in a statement. "Because so many destinations, tours and cruises are not available this year, members are contacting our travel agents to book trips in 2021 and 2022, when they anticipate they will be able to vacation more safely."

According to the transportation analysis firm INRIX, Wednesday afternoon is expected to see the highest volume of traffic in the Los Angeles area. Traffic volumes are expected to be down from the traditional day-before- Thanksgiving crush, but motorists should still anticipate delays on key thoroughfares, most notably the eastbound Santa Monica (10) Freeway, the north and south San Diego (405) Freeway and the Golden State (5) Freeway.

Health authorities have been recommending against travel this Thanksgiving due to surging COVID-19 cases. The state has issued a travel advisory, urging people who do travel to quarantine for 14 days upon their return.

The Auto Club reminded people to pack protective gear, including hand sanitizer, masks, cleaning supplies and a thermometer. It also urged travelers to use gloves or plastic baggies to open doors, fill gas tanks or touch other surfaces. The Auto Club also recommended that people pack plenty of snacks and drinks to help minimize stops on their journey.