Airport chaos could mean busier New Year’s travel weekend on California Highways
Law enforcement agencies across California are gearing up for New Year’s Eve as millions of Californians take to the streets again.
Freeways across California could be even busier than expected this New Year’s weekend as people try to avoid the chaos that has plagued airports.
Airlines were still reeling from thousands of delayed and canceled flights on Thursday as travelers scrambled to get home from their Christmas destinations.
“So I’m actually going to drive back to Chicago from where I’m from,” said Aidan Beals, who lives in Chicago and was visiting the Central Coast for Christmas. His vacation ended up being longer than expected, but he hopes to be back home in time for the new year.
“It has been very crazy. I’ve had my flights changed a few times and hopefully I’ll be able to get somewhere when it’s time to get on the plane,” he said.
AAA says continued flight problems mean freeways and highways could be even busier in the coming days.
“Right now, the number of people who are driving may increase due to the many flight issues that some people had this holiday season,” AAA spokesman Doug Shupe said.
Heavy rain in the forecast could further complicate New Year’s travel, but AAA says the weather has less of an impact on holiday travel plans than you might think.
“Typically, the weather won’t change travel plans, however, the auto club encourages people to prepare for wet roads,” Shupe said.
The California Highway Patrol is preparing for its peak enforcement period, which begins Friday evening and runs through Monday.
“So we are already at 75 percent of our available units,” said Public Information Officer Miguel Alvarez.
Officers will be on increased alert for people driving under the influence, as well as distracted and reckless driving.
“As far as whether it’s going to be busier — I’ll say the rain has kept us pretty steady, but I don’t think we’re expecting anything too crazy.”
For those who still need to drive to their New Year’s destination, AAA recommends leaving sooner rather than later, especially on Friday.
“If you’re leaving on a Friday, you really want to try to avoid that afternoon commute between 3 and 6 p.m., when people coming home from work will mix with commuters going in and out of town,” Shupe said. .
AAA recommends checking your windshield wipers, headlights, and tires before you head out.
AAA expects 9.2 million people to travel 50 miles or more through Southern California.
However, these figures are combined at Christmas and New Year together.