Drivers in the Washington region should brace themselves for very heavy traffic on Memorial Day weekend.

The American Automobile Association said it expects 41.5 million people will travel more than 50 miles over the holiday weekend, including 36.6 million drivers.

That represents a 4.7 percent increase over last year. Overall travel is expected to hit the highest total in more than a dozen years, AAA said, despite a recent rise in gas prices. The “getaway period” is expected to start as early as Wednesday, May 24 this year.

AAA warned that the Thursday before Memorial Day (May 24) will be the heaviest traffic day in the Washington region, with travel delays that could be 2.3 times the normal levels of a typical Thursday. Things will be especially bad during the afternoon rush hour, AAA said.

Only New York City on May 25 projects to have a higher “delay multiplier” due to Memorial Day.

Follow DC Commute Times for updates on how the region’s transportation agencies expect to deal with the Memorial Day crush.

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