Holiday travelers drive, fly in and out of the valley

Holiday Traffic Begins

PALM SPRINGS, Calif. - The holiday weekend is now underway and 43 million Americans will travel to their Thanksgiving destinations according to AAA.  Lots of people are making their way in, out and through the valley, making for some traveling headaches.  An early winter storm took a toll on air travel plans for many, even some in the desert.  "One airport is closed on the east coast, it affects everything even on the west coast," said Amy Smith, who is visiting from Utah.  "So, if you're smart, you could drive." 

AAA says 90% of those traveling for the holiday weekend will drive.  Don Minnick and his family made a stop in the valley on the way to Arizona.  "We're not traveling that far, so it's a lot easier to drive," said Minnick.  

Even cheaper this year.  The pinch at the pump is at its lowest since 2010 says AAA.  The average cost per gallon in Riverside county is down 20 cents from last Thanksgiving.  "It's a lot cheaper that it was last year," said Minnick.  "We came and it was five bucks a gallon." 

All this does come at a price though, the long lines of traffic.  Cars flooded Interstate-10, drivers dealing with speeds as low as 30 miles per hour in some parts of the valley.  One driver says the key to surviving the traffic is patience.  "It is just what it is," said Darrell Kem, on his way home to Arizona.  "We left early, it took a while to get here." 

The long line of headlights is to be expected on one of the busiest travel days of the year.  It's what drivers can do to avoid the unexpected that's most important.  "You have to be very cautious," said Kem.  "That's it, be careful, make it home for the holidays." 

The California Highway Patrol is also increasing patrols until midnight on Sunday when many are expected to return home. 

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