The worst days to travel during the holiday season

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MADISON, Wis. (WBAY) - Dec. 20 is being called the "worst day to travel" for people taking Christmas vacations.

Traffic jam, Photo Date: 10/21/2013 / Cropped Photo: David Wilson / CC BY 2.0 / (MGN)

Peak travel times are Thursday night and Friday night.

Traffic will be hectic with travelers and last minute shoppers.

“With a record-level number of travelers hitting the road this holiday, drivers must be prepared for delays in major metro areas – with Thursday, December 20 being the nation’s worst day to travel,” says Trevor Reed, transportation analyst at INRIX. “Our advice is to avoid traveling during peak commuting hours. If schedules allow, leave bright and early, or after the morning commute.”

AAA anticipates 112.5 million people will travel over the Christmas season.

In Wisconsin, more than 2.3 million people will travel by road, air or rail.

The Wisconsin Department of Transportation says distracted driving is the number one cause of crashes. Their advice: keep your eyes off your cell phone.

"It makes your room for error as a driver much less. Meaning that you can't be looking down at a text, you can't be talking to the kids in the backseat, or petting the dog or having it jump on your lap," says Mark Kantola, Regional Communications Director, Wisconsin DOT.

"We have a lot of undulating hills in Wisconsin. You don't know what's on the other side. You put as much traffic on the road, somebody hits a deer in front of you, you can't see the traffic backed up and the next thing you know, you're right on top of them."

The DOT recommends calling 511 before you leave. That number provides real time road condition. You can also use Action 2 News' Timesaver Traffic interactive map. It has information on construction, weather road conditions and incidents that could slow your travel.