Summer road series: A travel guide for Memorial Day weekend 2024

Sisters sitting in the back of their family car, talking to one another and
Are you traveling over Memorial Day weekend? Here are four things to know for a safe, efficient road trip 🚘 ☀️

There’s a reason Memorial Day weekend is known as the “unofficial” beginning of summer – schools are coming to a close for the academic year, public pools are opening up for the season, and crowds of people are heading to beaches, lakes, and other destinations.

If you’re planning to start the summer off with a road trip, Arity can help! Using our massive dataset with a connection to over 40M U.S. drivers, we looked at driving behaviors and patterns from Memorial Day weekend last year (Friday, May 26th – Monday, May 29th, 2023).

Based on our analysis, here are four things to know for planning a safe, efficient road trip.

#1 Friday is the busiest travel day

Chart showing miles driven on Memorial Day Weekend in 2023.

Last year, Friday was the busiest travel day for Memorial Day weekend, and it actually claimed the most miles driven of any day between Easter and July Fourth weekend. In addition to road trips, workday commutes also impacted the number of drivers on the road with the heaviest traffic between 2 and 5 p.m., peaking at 3 p.m.

#2 On Memorial Day, roads are the busiest between 10 a.m. and 3 p.m.

Memorial Day seems to truly kick off summer travel. Last year, total miles driven increased by nearly 12% compared to one week prior. And after that, miles driven remained heightened every Monday through the end of July – likely due to children being off from school and families going on vacation.

If patterns are similar this year, drivers can expect roads to be busiest between 10 a.m. and 3 p.m., which more closely resembles weekend patterns over a typical Monday. Last year, traffic peaked at noon with 46% more drivers on the road compared to one week prior.

#3 There’s less distracted driving and hard braking than “normal”

Potentially due to families traveling with children in the car, we saw a lot less distracted driving and hard braking throughout the three-day weekend compared to normal last year.

In fact, Memorial Day boasts the lowest rate of phone handling behind the wheel out of any Monday between Easter and July Fourth weekend. And, in addition, the holiday saw nearly 14% less hard braking compared to one week prior.

#4 Speeding increases significantly

However, even though rates of distracted driving and hard braking were lower than normal, we saw more high-speed driving (80+ mph) throughout Memorial Day weekend.

On the holiday itself, the rate of high speeding increased by nearly 74% compared to the Monday before, which likely relates to an uptick in highway travel as drivers drove back home from their long-weekend vacations.

Arity in action

Every year, holidays, special events, and unexpected incidents inevitably disrupt the way we all get from Point A to Point B. And with a mission to make transportation smarter, safer, and more useful for everyone, the Arity team is passionate about equipping people, businesses, and government agencies with the data insights needed to effectively manage those shifts.

Want to learn more? Check out this blog with an update on what’s happening on our roadways from our President Gary Hallgren.


About Arity’s source data

Arity’s multi-source dataset with more than 40 million active connections includes anonymized and aggregated driving behavior data collected through consumer mobile apps, insurance telematics, and on-board device (OBD) programs.

Because the data is from multiple insurance and non-insurance sources and is not solely reflective of any Arity affiliate companies or any other particular industry or source, we really get a sense of how people are moving, where they are going, when, and how. Arity is connected to millions of U.S. drivers, so we have a credible representation in every state and demographic (e.g., families, single vehicles, rural, cities).

Keep in mind that although a majority of the trips Arity collects are personal trips, we have the capability to decipher between personal trips, gig driving, and non-driving impacts.

Because Arity collects various driving behaviors within a trip, we also can evaluate trends such as speeding, braking, acceleration, phone handling, and the time of day someone drives. For example, fueled by the largest telematics dataset tied to claims, we can more accurately predict dangerous driving behavior that we described in this report.

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Arity is a mobility data and analytics company. We provide data-driven solutions to companies invested in transportation, enabling them to deliver mobility services that are smarter, safer, and more economical.