Memorial Day weekend, a driving holiday if ever there were one, this year will see 2.7 million Southern Californians traveling, according to the Auto Club, and they’ll need to watch out for traffic, those who text and drive, and fuel prices that are higher here than the rest of the country.
If you’re reading this, well, why aren’t you on the road already? If you want to get a jump on traffic, leave between 10 and 11 a.m. Friday and return before 1 p.m. or after 7 p.m. on Monday. That’s according to INRIX, which uses data and technology to help people navigate better.
For example, if you’re going to Las Vegas for the weekend and leave at the peak time — between 5 and 6 p.m. — INRIX says it will take you four hours and 45 minutes on Interstate 15. Of that total, 45 will be spent fighting traffic. (INRIX, by the way, offers a mobile traffic app called INRIX XD Traffic.)
The trip to San Diego could be worse, even if it's half the distance to Vegas. If you leave between 6 and 7 p.m. on Friday, it will take you almost four hours if you’re driving on Interstate 5. Almost two hours of that is delays, INRIX says.
Some road trip tips: Make sure you take a restroom break. Also carry some good tunes (40% of Americans like to listen to classic rock on the road, 28% country, according to an Expedia survey) and snacks (chips are the favorite, that survey said, at 36%, followed by 31% for fast food).
And maybe a good dose of junk food will help this news go down more easily: Gas prices have gone up — as if you hadn’t noticed. In the L.A. area, gas was $4.17 a gallon near the end of the week, which is 9 cents a gallon more than a year ago, according to AAA’s Fuel Gauge report.
That means if you use 20 gallons of gas on your getaway, you’ll spend $1.80 more than you did in 2013.
If you’re traveling to other parts of the country, you’ll pay only $3.64 on average per gallon, which is a penny less than it was a year ago.
Whenever you’re going, pack your patience. That Expedia poll — billed as a Road Rage Report — said we get super-irritated by those who text (the least favorite habit of 69% of responents) and by those who tailgate (60%).
In many ways, though, we are lucky. Those who were surveyed in the Expedia poll chose the Pacific Coast Highway as their No. 1 scenic drive and Route 66 as their second choice. Both are close at hand and certainly easier to get to than choice No. 3, which was the Florida Keys, a mere 2,889 miles away.