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Memorial Day weekend: Here are the worst times to leave LA

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Planning a long car trip?

Cars stuck in traffic Photo by David McNew/Getty Images

Editor's Note: This post was originally published May 25 and has been updated with the most recent information.

Planning a long drive this Memorial Day weekend? You’ll want to be strategic about when to leave town—or bring plenty of audiobooks. An annual report from traffic analyst INRIX predicts that travel time between Los Angeles and popular vacation destinations could nearly double at peak hours.

Of course, travelers will likely encounter traffic throughout the day on Friday and Saturday, but there are certainly a few good times to avoid.

The route to the farthest destination analyzed by INRIX—Las Vegas—is projected to take a road rage-inducing six hours from Downtown LA if you leave anytime from 3 to 6 p.m. on Friday. Congestion is expected to start building around 1 p.m. Travel times at noon are expected to be about 4 hours and 40 minutes.

The report projects that travel time to Palm Springs will more than double for drivers leaving when traffic is at its worst (around 3 p.m. on Friday).

Traffic between LA and San Diego—which, let’s be honest, is always bad—will be most backed up on Saturday between noon and 5 p.m. During that wide window of time, drivers can expect delays of over an hour.

The lesson, as always: Plan ahead and maybe think about leaving at unusual times. Departing at 2:30 a.m., for instance, should get you to Palm Springs in plenty of time for a beautiful desert sunrise. Something to consider?