Holiday traffic
Expect holiday traffic in Southern California to be heavy this weekend. Photo courtesy California Highway Patrol

The Memorial Day weekend traffic crush is officially at hand — with the Automobile Club of Southern California predicting that Friday would be the most congested travel day during the three-day holiday.

In fact, most area freeways were likely to have double their normal Friday afternoon volume, the Automobile Club said.

For Southern California residents, the top destinations for people traveling over the weekend are expected to be San Diego, Mexico, Las Vegas, Grand Canyon National Park and Santa Barbara/Central Coast. The top destination for people traveling by air will be Hawaii, according to the Auto Club.

With pandemic-weary residents apparently unhampered by soaring gas prices, the club predicted that 3.1 million SoCal residents will be traveling for the Memorial Day weekend, the vast majority of them — 2.6 million — by car.

“With pandemic restrictions lifting and modes of travel such as air and cruises continuing to rebound, Auto Club travel advisers are working hard to rebook trips that were delayed over the last two years and plan new adventures for friends and families,” Heather Felix, the Auto Club’s vice president of travel products and services, said in a statement.

“The Auto Club strongly recommends people who are planning big trips this summer to use a trusted travel adviser and consider travel insurance, which can both save you time and money if something unexpectedly derails your travel plans,” Felix added.

According to the Auto Club, this year will be the fourth-busiest Memorial Day travel weekend on record, behind 2005, 2018 and 2019. The overall estimated number of people traveling this weekend is expected to be about 8% behind the number from the pre-pandemic year of 2019.

Nationally, the Auto Club estimates that 39.2 million people will be traveling for the weekend.

City News Service contributed to this article.