Where in the State are Californians Driving for the Winter Holidays?

man driving at night in traffic

The short answer is all over! With more than 27 million residents behind the wheel, California has more registered drivers than any other state in the nation. Many of them will be hitting the roads and highways this winter holiday season.  

Overall, Thanksgiving travel (including by air and other transportation modes) jumped 16% over last year — when COVID-19 was at its peak and vaccines hadn’t been released — despite the fact that gasoline prices here are at record levels and COVID-19 is still a threat. 

So Where Are California Motorists Going This Holiday Season? 

From coastal beaches and desert warmth to mountain-capped cabins and ski resorts, California has something for everyone this (and every) holiday season. Once drivers contact their insurance agent for the cheap car insurance in California they’ll need, families are ready to hit the road in all directions of the compass. 

Here are just some of the places where California motorists are headed. 

Southern California — What’s not to love? This region of the state has some of its most populated counties. In fact, the region has two counties - Los Angeles and San Diego — that are among the five most populated counties in the entire United States. Los Angeles County, in fact, takes the top spot. 

Southern California offers incredibly mild weather and plenty to do to bring traffic from elsewhere in the state and far beyond. In addition, many local motorists will be traveling 50 miles or less to visit family members living in the sprawling, densely populated Southern California (or SoCal). 

Just be sure to check out your car insurance coverage details before you become part of that bumper-to-bumper holiday traffic that will be a part of the scenery here. 

Ski resorts — Some California downhill skiing destinations could compete with Europe’s finest. Those families who want to stay active will be looking for the many snowy peaks this holiday season. They’ll find great resorts and plenty of powder in Northern California in the Lake Tahoe, Yosemite, and Mammoth Lakes regions. 

group of friends on ski lift

But it’s not just in the cool northern regions that California travelers will enjoy skiing at its best. Perhaps surprisingly, Southern California, better known for its beaches and eternal summer vibe, also has its share of prime destinations. These include resorts in the San Gabriel and San Bernardino mountains. 

Coastal beaches — California ranks third in the United States with about 3,400 miles of coastline. Combine all of that sand with the mild weather, especially in SoCal, and you have a travel destination even during the winter holiday season. The Pacific Ocean will definitely pull traffic, though obviously not as much as during the summer months. So that might be an advantage to you. 

Vineyards — Napa Valley, some 50 miles northeast of San Francisco, invites travelers from throughout the state and the rest of the world with its more than 400 wineries. Plenty of car travelers see wine country as an ideal and highly romantic winter holiday getaway. Napa Valley produced some wine varieties that are competitive with the finest found in France. No wonder traffic is headed that way over the holidays. 

Everywhere family is located — As the saying goes, “home is where the heart is.” What that means is that many motorists will be headed to California locations off the beaten track. The attraction won’t be coastal beaches, breathtaking mountain scenery, city glitz, or award-winning restaurants or hotels. The magnet will be, simply, family — wherever in The Golden State they’re located. 

Why Should Winter Holiday Motorists Think About Car Insurance Before Leaving Home? 

You certainly won’t be alone on the roads this winter holiday season. It’s predicted that there will be about 16% more drivers this year than last. And more wheels on the roads mean an increased risk of vehicular accidents. That’s why you want to make sure you have adequate insurance

Adding to the overall congestion is the fact that many motorists will be traveling out of their familiar surroundings. Drivers who don’t know where they’re going might suddenly switch lanes or come to sudden stops and make tire-screeching turns. Traveling behind or in front of such confused drivers certainly adds to the travel adventure, but it could come at a high price. 

If the collision is your fault, or you get hit by an uninsured motorist, it will cost you. Keep in mind that even low-speed contact with another vehicle or inanimate object can cost a few thousand dollars, depending on what model car you’re driving. 

That’s why you should review your car insurance policy before heading off for your winter holiday travels. If you only have minimal coverage, that could make your trip more challenging. 

What’s the Potential Downside of Minimal Coverage? 

It’s mandatory for all California drivers to have car insurance. However, you can contain costs by only buying liability coverage. This basically protects other drivers and passengers in the event you cause an accident. 

But if your own car is damaged or totaled, you’ll receive no insurance settlement. The cost of repair or replacement is yours alone. Can you afford to pay hundreds or even thousands of dollars if you have an accident while driving on congested California roadways this holiday season? 

Full coverage comes with options that will help you pay for damage, whether they’re your fault, caused by uninsured motorists, or single-vehicle accidents such as rollovers. You’ll also be protected against vehicle damage or loss due to theft, fire, flooding, or other non-collision events. 

What coverage limitations are right for you? That will depend on your budget, where and how you travel, and other factors. Discuss your needs with your insurance agent before you leave your driveway. 

Wherever You’re Going This Holiday Season, Drive With the Ultimate Confidence of Affordable Auto Insurance 

Start the holiday travels off with a quick review of your insurance needs with your friendly and helpful agent. Visit a Cost-U-Less office near you, get a quote online, or call us at (800) 390-4071 to find out how you can get cheap car insurance in California.