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Going out on the road this weekend? Here's when to avoid the worst traffic

And remember - stay safe this weekend with all the cars out on the road.

ATLANTA — It's been two years since we had a real Labor Day weekend rush, and although Georgia is in a full-fledged COVID surge it's expected that scores of travelers will take to the roads and skies for vacations.

The Georgia Department of Transportation is expecting a lot more traffic than the 2020 Labor Day weekend, and they're warning about when the worst times to get out on the road will be.

"We are seeing traffic levels, congestion levels, back to sort of pre-COVID numbers," GDOT's Natalie Dale said.

RELATED: Holiday weekend travel set to flood roads and skies as pandemic rages on

That means if you're headed out on the road this weekend, you can expect that old familiar terrible Atlanta traffic - unless you heed her advice, and avoid the peak travel times.

"If you think of it like a traffic signal, red means stop don't go - Friday, from noon to 8 p.m., is going to be the worst time to get out and about on the road," she said. 

Dale said if you leave in this window, you could add as much as 30-45 minutes to your trip.

It'll be a little less bad on Saturday, while if you can hang around and put off your trip until Sunday you should be able to avoid the holdups.

Credit: WXIA

But Dale stressed that cutting down on your travel time is not the top priority.

"Let's be really honest, when we have these holidays, things like Labor Day, Fourth of July, Memorial Day, we see the biggest spike in traffic accidents, injuries and fatalities on the road," she said. "And we know what is going on with our hospital system right now. Our hospitals around the state are pushed to the brink right now."

That means do your part: Slow down, do not under any circumstances drink and drive, and stay out of wrecks - and the hospital.