VIRGINIA (DC News Now) — People are gearing up to pack up and head out for Thanksgiving and a little planning does help when you hit the road for the holidays.

Unfortunately, in the DMV, there are typical traffic points like the Beltway, the Baltimore-Washington Parkway, and the Mixing Bowl in northern Virginia which are experiencing more than just typical rush hour traffic as people hit the roads ahead of the holiday.

Some drivers are staying in the area as they said the idea of sitting in traffic is just too much.

AAA is predicting almost 55 million people will travel 50 miles or more from home this Thanksgiving. Drivers make up a majority of those travelers, with an estimated 49 million hitting the roads for the holiday and some Virginia drivers are getting an early start.

Andrea Courduvelis is heading to southern Maryland from Alexandria on Wednesday morning. But she isn’t worried about her drive, but more so about her son’s flight from Texas and then his drive to their second home where they’ll be spending the holiday.

“My biggest worry is how long it’s going to take him to get home,” Courduvelis explained. “I’m leaving in the morning because I’m picking up a turkey at an Amish farm and my husband is going to wait for our son and they’ll drive out together at night.”

Rosslyn resident Jacob Woodard has a long drive to Bucks County, Pennslyvania, one that could last at least four to five hours. He’s not looking forward to his drive as he will hit major congestion areas all along his route.

“I’m hoping to get up as early as I can, probably hit the road around 7 or 8 in the morning is my plan,” Woodard said. “I’m definitely going to have to deal with the Beltway traffic, then again in Baltimore, and then up in Philly too.”

Others are forgoing the trek altogether like Laura Ladd and her young family. Ladd says her family will be spending their Thanksgiving with their neighbors instead of driving to her husband’s family in Newport News, Virginia.

“Part of it is traveling with two little ones in the backseat, battling whatever traffic comes our way going down and coming back, so it’s just easier to stay local,” Ladd said.

While some are hitting the roads on Tuesday and Wednesday, Alasia Washington says she’s waiting until Thanksgiving morning to head back home to Richmond. She explained the drive should usually take around an hour but is bracing for the worst due to the holiday.

“I hate traffic, I hate sitting in my car for no reason, and being in DC, I drive like a DC person which means I’m a ‘swerver,'” Washington said. “Just to avoid all of that, I don’t want to curse anyone out tomorrow or today so I’m going to sit in my home for the next two days.”

If you’re driving during the holidays, Virginia State Police are asking you to be extra careful. VSP reported 5 deaths over the long holiday weekend last year on Virginia roads. There was also a laundry list of citations written over the 5-day period where VSP ramps up their presence on the roads for the holiday.

  • 5,127 speeding tickets were handed out
  • 1,565 reckless driving citations
  • 65 people suspected of driving under the influence
  • 477 were caught for not buckling up themselves or their kids

The 2021 Thanksgiving Operation C.A.R.E., or Crash Awareness and Reduction Effort, initiative begins at 12:01 a.m. on Wednesday, November 23, and finishes up at midnight Sunday, November 27.