DAYTON — AAA projects a record-breaking 44.2 million Americans will travel this Independence Day weekend. This represents the highest July Fourth travel volume on record and represents a 2.9 percent increase over last year.
The holiday travel period is defined as Friday, June 30 to Tuesday, July 4. This year, 1.9 million Ohioans plan to celebrate our nation’s freedom with their friends and family over the long holiday weekend. More than 1.6 million plan to drive to their destination, an increase of 3.1 percent compared to last year.
“Based on traveler intent, we are on pace for record-setting travel this summer” says AAA spokesperson Cindy Antrican. “Enthusiastic Miami Valley area travelers are joining in the travel frenzy as well”.
The top five travel requests received by local AAA Auto Travel Counselors are:
1. Myrtle Beach, South Carolina
2. Gettysburg, Pennsylvania
3. Ft Walton Beach/ Destin – Florida Panhandle
4. Hershey, Pennsylvania
5. In and around Ohio
Despite a surge in gasoline demand on the week, the national average price for gasoline is nearing an all-time low for the year at $2.25/gallon. February of this year was the last time the price of a gallon of regular unleaded gasoline was this low nationally.
Ohio travelers headed for Pennsylvania may want to consider filling the tank before reaching the state line. The current average for a gallon of gas in Pennsylvania is $2.44 per gallon, compared to an average of $2.15 a gallon in Ohio.
AAA has a variety of resources to help motorists save on fuel:
• Fuel Price Finder (http://www.AAA.com/fuelfinder) locates the lowest fuel price in your area.
• AAA Gas Cost Calculator (http://gasprices.aaa.com/aaa-gas-cost-calculator/) helps budget travel expenses.
• TripTik Mobile (http://www.aaa.com/mobile) plots fuel prices along your travel route.
For those heading south on I-75, be aware the Brent Spence Bridge construction will have a major impact on travel, especially as the holiday travel period begins on Friday. Travelers affected include those who are planning a road trip, as well as those heading to the Cincinnati airport. Some tips to minimize delays:
• Plan ahead and map out your travel/seek an alternative route if needed (AAA travel counselors are assisting members at area AAA offices)
• Leave early in the morning to avoid heavier traffic volume
• Sign up for email/text alerts to stay updated on daily travel advisories at http://brentspence2017.org/
Roadways won’t be the only busy place, more than 80,000 Ohioans will be flying to their 4th of July destinations, an increase of nearly 5 percent over last year.
Travel by other modes is also up over last year with nearly 140,000 Ohioans expected to travel by train, bus, cruise or other transportation, a 2 percent increase.
Keep on Rolling
With the vast majority traveling by car, AAA Tire & Auto Manager, Jason Brown, reminds motorists about the three important “P”s of travel: Plan, Prepare and then Pack”. Although you may be excited to begin your Independence Day travel, make sure your vehicle is safe and ready to hit the road. Last year AAA’s Roadside Rescue Team came to the aid of nearly 2,000 stranded Miami Valley area drivers during the five-day holiday period. Most common problems were:
• Tows: nearly 1,000 vehicles required a tow, indicating a more serious mechanical issue, often the result of drivers not following their vehicle’s manufacturer’s maintenance schedule.
• Batteries: higher summer temperatures can cause a sharp increase in battery failure. Last year during the holiday period, 341 drivers were stranded by dead batteries.
• Lockouts: nearly 250 drivers found themselves locked out vehicles. AAA reminds drivers to “look before you lock” – during heavy holiday travel periods the number of calls for help accessing vehicles increases when people accidentally lock keys in their vehicles while packing or unpacking.
• Tires: high heat and improper inflation call spell trouble for tires. Last year during the Fourth of July holiday period 187 drivers called for help because of tire problems. Drivers should be in the habit of checking air pressure at least once a month and always before taking a road trip.
• Download the AAA Mobile app before an Independence Day getaway
Before setting out for Independence Day, download the free AAA Mobile app for iPhone, iPad and Android. Travelers can use the app to map a route, find lowest gas prices, access exclusive member discounts, make travel arrangements, request AAA roadside assistance, find AAA Approved Auto Repair facilities and more.