July 4th Traffic: Best and worst times to drive

More than 1.8 million Washington, D.C. area residents will travel over the week surrounding the Fourth of July holiday, says AAA Mid-Atlantic, and most of them will hit the road to get to their destinations.

The auto club says about 90% of those traveling 50 miles or more over the holiday period will do so by car. The projected number marks about a six percent increase over last year.

Two factors helping make the decision to jump behind the wheel and go might be lower gas prices and the fact that many are able to stay out of town for longer periods of time. AAA says nationally, gas prices are trending about 11 cents lower than last year. "We are seeing that a residual impact of COVID has been greater work flexibility, affording many the opportunity to work remotely and extend weekend and holiday trips," said Ragina Cooper Ali, AAA spokeswoman in Maryland and in the District.

Best and Worst Times to Travel in DC Area

With everyone hitting the road around the same time, some congestion and delays are inevitable. AAA says drivers leaving Thursday or Friday should hit the road early to avoid mixing with commuters. Travelers going back home on Sunday or Monday should avoid the afternoon hours when return trips will peak.

Here are the best and worst times to travel over the Fourth of July holiday:

Monday, Jul 1    

Minimal Traffic Impact Expected  

Tuesday, Jul 2     

2:00 - 6:00 PM (Worst Travel Time)          

After 7:00 PM (Best Travel Time)

Wednesday, Jul 3             

2:00 - 7:00 PM (Worst Travel Time)          

Before Noon (Best Travel Time)

Thursday, Jul 4   

2:00 - 7:00 PM   (Worst Travel Time)

Before Noon (Best Travel Time)

Friday, Jul 5        

11:00 AM - 4:00 PM (Worst Travel Time) 

Before 10:00 AM (Best Travel Time)

Saturday, Jul 6   

10:30 AM - 2:30 PM (Worst Travel Time) 

Before 10:00 AM (Best Travel Time)

Sunday, Jul 7      

2:00 - 8:00 PM (Worst Travel Time)                         

Before 11:00 AM (Best Travel Time)

Monday, Jul 8    

1:00 - 5:00 PM (Worst Travel Time)                        

After 7:00 PM (Best Travel Time)

Another 129,000 D.C. area residents will fly to their destinations. About 79,000 will travel by bus, train or set sail on a cruise.