Whether you are brand new to the area or are a long-time resident, you have probably found yourself frustrated at the amount of traffic on the interstates, highways, and side roads.
In 2020, however, traffic trended down as people practiced social distancing and often worked remotely. In 2021, a question on the minds of many western North Carolinians is whether the traffic will return as the tourist season approaches. There is good reason to believe it will, and we want to help you make sure your vehicle is prepared.
Why Traffic Will Return to Asheville
Things are slowly returning to normal in the Asheville area. Buncombe and Henderson counties are moving out of the critical and substantial COVID-19 tiers, and businesses are beginning to welcome employees and customers back to offices and retail spaces. Many companies in our area will continue to utilize tools to allow working remotely and modified schedules that only bring people onto their campuses part-time. That may bring some relief to the volume of traffic compared to previous years.
At the same time, the pandemic may not have slowed area growth at all. Properties in western North Carolina have sold sight-unseen to people from all over the country. With so many positions becoming permanently work-from-home, people are choosing to live in places like Asheville for the views and surrounding nature. We may find that our area grew even more rapidly during the pandemic.
We can also expect a significant uptick in tourism traffic. Many residents already found that their favorite hiking and mountain biking areas remained busier than ever throughout the last year. As people are vaccinated, and COVID-19 numbers continue to decline, you can expect that tourism will look much more like it has in the past few decades. In fact, it is likely to be even busier in the area.
Where in Western North Carolina to Expect Traffic
Residents have learned to anticipate where traffic will be the worst. If you are new to the area, or you are planning a visit to Asheville, here is where you can expect traffic:
- I-26 Between Hendersonville and Asheville: This stretch is notorious for heavy traffic, especially on weekdays during rush hour.
- I-240 Near Patton Avenue: East and west directions can be busy simultaneously, especially during weekday rush hour and on weekends.
- I-40 Between Candler and Canton (especially westbound): From weekday rush hour to weekend tourism times, when I-40 narrows to two lanes, the bottlenecks can be intense.
- Downtown Asheville: Especially on weekends, downtown Asheville can feel like a parking lot. Unfortunately, the irony is that during those times, you may have trouble finding parking.
- The Blue Ridge Parkway (especially around Craggy Gardens and Mount Pisgah): These areas are close enough to Asheville to be quite popular for tourism. On the weekends, it can be almost impossible to find parking.
- Popular Restaurants and Breweries: Especially on Friday nights through Sunday afternoons, these places will typically be packed.
How to Protect Your Car from Dents, Dings, and Fender Benders
How can you protect your vehicle from damage? Here are a few key tips:
- Avoid the busiest areas, especially during the times they are likely to be busiest. This may seem like simple logic, but trying to visit your favorite place during weekdays will help you avoid accidental vehicle damage.
- Go grocery shopping during the day on weekdays when possible. Grocery stores are notorious for accidental vehicle damage.
- Go on hikes in the popular areas early or late in the season. The most popular hiking trails are famous for good reason. However, during the spring and fall, your fun can be spoiled by a fender bender and door dings.
- Use your navigation app on your phone even when you know where you're going. These applications will often alert you to traffic jams and provide alternative routes.
If traffic does indeed return to our area, it will increase the chances of drivers being involved in fender benders and accidents. If your vehicle is damaged due to a wreck, parking lot scrape up, or a hail storm that catches you on the road, we are here to help.
First Aid Collision in Asheville is the area's trusted source for vehicle body collision repair. If you have auto body damage, contact us, or bring your car by our shop. We can help you get back on the road quickly, so you can enjoy this beautiful time of year in western North Carolina.