Planning Ahead for Memorial Day Closures & Traffic in Your City
More than 3 million Southern Californians will hit the highway on the
forthcoming Memorial Day weekend (May 27). And they're likely to start
earlier and stay away longer, according to some travel experts.
Those 3 million are the ones who'll be traveling more than 50 miles. Add to
them, the millions who'll be taking a short road-trip to visit family or
enjoy the celebrations and you have the recipe for the usual traffic
snarl-ups and delays.
Journeys that are estimated to take up to three times longer than on a
regular weekend mean frustrations, frayed tempers, road accidents and
breakdowns. Nationwide, AAA expects to carry out around 340,000 road
rescues over the weekend.
In fact, Memorial Day weekend is the most dangerous holiday for road and
highway accidents, according to the National Coalition for Safer Roads.
It's also a record time for speeding tickets and other citations. For
instance, police report that there's more than one red light violation
But the holiday doesn't have to be a challenge. With a bit of prudent
advance planning, you can eliminate many of the problems and make the most
of the unofficial start to summer.
How to Prep for Memorial Day Traffic
Here are some of the important actions you can take to minimize frustrating
- Make sure your car is in good running order. The main causes of
breakdowns are battery problems, flat tires and leaking cooling systems.
- Fuel up before the weekend starts so you don’t get stuck in those long
lines at gas stations.
- Likewise, if you're renting an car for Memorial Day weekend, eat the
cost of collecting it a day early and returning it a day late.
- Plan your route in advance. Identify possible bottlenecks -- especially
around parades and events -- reduced lanes and road closures (see below for
traffic information sources and apps). Also check in advance for parking
- Try to avoid the busiest times on our highways…
The Worst Times to Travel on Memorial Day Weekend
Some transportation experts say the 2019 Memorial Day "weekend", will
stretch further than ever for some, taking in both the Thursday and Tuesday
either side of the traditional holiday. The getaway may even start on the
Even so, the busiest and therefore the absolute worst times to hit the road
in LA and other metro areas are between 3 pm and 5 pm on the Friday and 2 pm
to 4 pm on the Monday.
In both cases, congestion can start to build and remain high for a couple
of hours either side of those times.
Tuesday from 4 pm to 6 pm is also expected to be busy.
Busiest getaway routes in Southern California are expected to include the
101 East, I5 South and I405 South.
Where to Find Info on Memorial Day Closures and Traffic Reports
These days, smartphone apps make it much easier than it used to be to track
real-time traffic, from GPS-driven mapping software, through familiar
favorites like Waze, to specialist apps like those from AAA and
transportation analytics company INRIX.
Well before the weekend, check programs on your app store of choice,
download a couple and test them. Most of them are free or have free
versions and are available for both Android and iOS phones.
Check out this site for a list of the best traffic apps:
Other useful online resources include IE511.org, a joint project between
Riverside and San Bernardino transportation authorities, and, of course,
With CALTRANS, you can check specific highway conditions simply by entering
the road numbers. To use this service, go to
CALTRANS also lists planned lane closures state-wide at:
And for unincorporated areas of LA County, see
For road closure information.
Finally, of course, don’t forget to tune in to your favorite news radio
station for up-to-the minute traffic reports. Or, look for roadside signs
listing radio frequencies to use for special traffic reports.
But a few words of warning…
Safe Driving for Memorial Day Weekend
CHP will be out in force during the weekend because of the higher risk of
violations and accidents, so it's a good time to put your wise driving
habits into practice. So:
- Check weather and traffic reports before leaving.
- Leave early -- allow at least 50 percent more journey time.
- Avoid driving distractions -- that means no phone calls from anyone in
the car, quiet entertainment for the kids, and taking breaks if you get
- No drinking and driving. CHP will almost certainly step up their DUI patrols
during the weekend.
- If you're driving locally, look for opportunities to car-pool.
- Carry emergency supplies, including a first aid kit, water, and items for
dealing with a flat tire -- that could be a spare or a repair kit.
- Stay calm. We live (and drive) in the age of road rage. But losing your
temper never, repeat, never solves a problem or settles a dispute. Keep the
car and passengers cool and, if trouble arises, take deep breaths to avoid
Also, as we mentioned earlier, there are several great apps for delivering
real-time traffic reports -- but beware the hazards of map re-routing.
Most apps are good at spotting problems but they're not always great at
re-routing, sometimes taking you down roads and even tracks that might be
unsuitable for some types of vehicles.
You can end up getting stuck, taking even longer or having to backtrack, so
check revised routes carefully -- perhaps even double-checking on a paper
map before following re-routing instructions.
Did we mention the importance of having good insurance protection for your
car during Memorial Day weekend?
With higher accident risks than at any other time of the year please make
sure you have the right protection for your vehicle.
Even the best and most careful drivers can get innocently caught up in
accidents where others are to blame. And some of these drivers may not be
insured, so check that you have uninsured and underinsured driver coverage.
Make sure too that you know the procedures to follow in the event of an
If you're not sure about your level of auto insurance, please contact the
friendly team at Aldrich Taylor Insurance. We want your Memorial Day weekend to be
memorable for the right reasons!