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Rain hits the Central Coast during holiday travel

MONTEREY COUNTY, Calif. (KION) If you're hitting the road for the holidays, you're going to be met with wet weather and slick roadways.

Crashes, rockslides and flooding are adding to the travel headache in Monterey County, but it's not stopping people from taking off.

"There's a lot of people driving pretty fast and it doesn't rain too often, so the roads are pretty oily," said Gabriel, who is driving to Southern California to spend the holidays with family.

And he's not alone. AAA says 14 million Californians will be traveling for the holidays this year — more than 88% of those will be hitting the road.

"It's typically the case that more people do choose to drive to their destination, maybe because it's just easier. We have seen a slight increase in the number of people who drive, especially this year, likely because maybe they feel more comfortable, given the pandemic, they feel more comfortable in their own car," said Sergio Avila, spokesperson for AAA Northern California.

Nationwide, more than 109 million people are expected to take off between December 23 and January 2, but that's still lower than pre-pandemic numbers.

"We're going to see about 92% of the travel volume that we saw in 2019. So we're still not 100% back to where we were pre-pandemic, but we're getting pretty close," said Avila.

"I’m just going back home for the holidays and going to visit family. Just trying to stay low-key because COVID is still going on," said Gabriel.

People were filling up their tanks in Monterey County before heading out. Gas prices are still up $1.25 more per gallon compared to a year ago.

"What we've discovered though, is it doesn't stop them from taking their trip. It's something that we recognize that's expensive. But travelers just kind of absorb those costs and maybe try to cut corners and save during their trip, but not cancel it completely," said Avila.

The California Highway Patrols' maximum enforcement period also starts at 6:00 p.m. on Christmas Eve. They will be looking out for people who are driving under the influence.

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Lisa Principi

Lisa Principi is a reporter at KION News Channel 5/46.

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