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Driving for Thanksgiving? Here are the best and worst times to hit the road

If you're traveling on Thanksgiving Eve, expect a lot of company on the road unless you leave early or late. The days after Thanksgiving will also be busy.

HOUSTON — An estimated 49 million people are expected to travel by car for the holiday. If you’re one of them, you’re probably coming up with your game plan now.

That’s why AAA has figured out the best and worst times to hit the road.

On Wednesday, the best time to travel is before 8 a.m. and after 8 p.m. The worst times to head out on Thanksgiving Eve are between 11 a.m. and 8 p.m. 

On Thanksgiving Day, you’ll tackle more traffic if you’re on the road between 11 a.m. and 3 p.m. Instead, try doing the drive before in the morning or after 6 p.m. 

On your way back, the worst times to drive on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday are between 4 p.m. and 8 p.m.

AAA also reports that the Houston area has one of the worst holiday-driving hotspots in the country. The day before Thanksgiving between 3:45 p.m. and 5:45 p.m., I-10 East between Sjolander Road and TX-330 in Baytown will see 81% more traffic than usual.

“Families and friends are eager to spend time together this Thanksgiving, one of the busiest for travel in the past two decades,” says Paula Twidale, AAA’s Senior Vice President of Travel. “Plan ahead and pack your patience, whether you’re driving or flying.”

Interactive map: Check traffic in the Houston area 

WATCH: Tips to save money on your Thanksgiving meal

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