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Hitting the road for the holiday? Expect major traffic Tuesday afternoon

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SEATTLE -- With millions of people planning on driving for the holiday weekend, INRIX is predicting travel time could be up to two times longer in the Seattle area this Thanksgiving.

And the Kirkland-based INRIX, a global leader in studying traffic data, says the absolute worst time to hit the road in the Seattle area is Tuesday between 4-6 P.M.

Tuesday's holiday traffic is expected to be felt all along the I-5 corridor.

On I-5 South, from exit 178 to 149, drivers may experience delays up to two times the normal travel time.

Wednesday morning traffic will also likely cause headaches for drivers.

The best days to travel will be on Thanksgiving Day, Friday or Saturday. Drivers should also expect heavy traffic on Sunday as most travelers will be heading back home after a long weekend.

INRIX also says motorists can expect to pay the highest Thanksgiving gas prices in four years, with a national average of $2.79 as of November 1, 31-cents higher than a year ago.

INRIX and AAA teamed up to help travelers prepare for the 2018 Thanksgiving Holiday Travel Forecast:

  • 48.5 million Americans are expected to take the road this week, a five percent increase compared to last year.
  • INRIX believes that travel times will start to increase as early as Monday, November 19.
  • If you're flying, avoid driving on I-5 South from Seattle to Sea-Tac Airport on Wednesday night. You could face more than 40 minutes of extra driving.

If you're flying out of Sea-Tac Airport for the holidays, you'll be one of about a million people who are doing so. Sea-Tac Airport recommends you arrive at the airport at least two hours before your flight, and make that three hours if it's an international flight.

You're also encouraged to use public transit or ride shares to get to the airport if you want to avoid traffic jams at the terminal.

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