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Experts warn drivers about one of the busiest Holiday travel weekends of the decade

It’s the nightmare before Christmas as 14 million Californians head out to freeways, train stations, and airports for the holidays.

“Just in Southern California alone, [there are] 8.6 million travelers,” AAA insurance agent, Sandra Rangel said.

As of Friday afternoon, Google Maps estimated a trip to Los Angeles from Santa Maria would take four hours. Normally, it can take less than three hours.

“The last 10 years it’s been building up every single year, more and more people are starting to travel,” travel agent at AAA, Elisa Ramirez explained.

For those who haven’t already left town by Friday, they’re in for heavier traffic.

“December 22 nd and December 23 rd , so Saturday and Sunday and then coming back home, the day after Christmas, the 26 th . Those are the three busiest travel days of the year,” said Ramirez.

AAA reminds drivers to be extra cautious.

“You want to drive for the other people, not just for yourself,” advised Rangel. ” A lot of people are not paying attention, they’re either texting or driving.”

Rangel said that’s why the insurance company get lots of calls about rear ends.

” Make sure you look in your rear view mirror [when you stop], and the person behind you looks like they’re stopping,” Rangel added.

And if you’re flying….

“If you’re doing domestic travel, [get there] two hours ahead. Anything international, give yourself three hours,” Ramirez said.

According to AAA, the top holiday travel destinations this time are San Diego, Las Vegas, Santa Barbara, San Francisco and Mexico. The company reports most people are not interested in spending Christmas in the snow, but rather, in warmer weather.

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