THE BRONX - Commuters planning to hit the road Friday may want to consider mass transit in order to avoid heavy traffic on the first gridlock day of the holiday season.

The Friday before Thanksgiving is one of nine gridlock days associated with the annual holiday exodus. The gridlock days are marked by traffic congestion and massive delays.

However, with the economy in a tailspin and unemployment on the rise, more people are expected to stay home for the holidays or leave their cars behind. AAA predicts a drop in driving and air travel, and a corresponding spike in the number of mass transit users.

?I don't have any travel plans this Thanksgiving because I don't have any money,? says Joseph Cruz.

The next gridlock day is the day before Thanksgiving, Nov. 26.