Travelers this holiday weekend will be out in full force. In fact, AAA is projecting that over 43 million people will be hitting the road, air, rails and waterways to celebrate Independence Day somewhere other than the comfort of their own home. That figure is the highest total of any previous year and exceeds this year’s Memorial Day total by 5 million.
Of the 43 million travelers, a whopping 36 million (84%) of them will be traveling on the roadways by car. That figure is a 1.2% increase over last year. AAA President and CEO, Marshall Doney, says that lower prices at the fuel pump are the reason for the increased traffic. “Spurred by the lowest gas prices since 2005, more people than ever are planning to travel this Independence Day weekend.”
And Doney is right. National gas prices, on average, are 47 cents lower than they were over 4th of July weekend in 2015.
With July 4th falling on a Monday this year, the “holiday weekend” is defined as Thursday, June 30, to Monday, July 4. While the longer weekend might help spread some of the traffic out, it is important for all travelers to exercise increased awareness and overall safety on the crowded roadways. This is especially true given the increase of drunk drivers on the road for the holiday weekend.
Last year in Pennsylvania there were 2,909 crashes from Friday, June 26 through Sunday, July 5, with 36 fatalities in those crashes. Of those, 429 crashes and 15 fatalities were impaired driving-related. PennDOT urges families to plan ahead, leave early and to select a designated driver for your travels no matter where you’re celebrating.
Michael J. O’Connor & Associates wants to wish you and your family a safe and happy Independence Day. God bless America!