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Drivers take care: Heavy travel weekend predicted

By Staff | Nov 26, 2011

About 38.2 million Americans are expected to hit the roads over the long holiday weekend and travel up to 50 miles or more away from their homes, according to statistics from AAA Auto Club.

More than 2 million Floridians alone are making a trek around the state by car, an increase of 3.6 percent from the same period last year.

More cars mean more opportunity for accidents, roadside breakdowns and any number of unforeseen complications. But taking some simple steps could mean the difference between a happy holiday and one filled with headaches or worse.

“Driving defensively is the most important thing you can do,” said Jessica Brady, spokeswoman for AAA. “We’re telling our members to drive as if the person next you is going to make a really bad decision. You can avoid a crash or something else much worse.”

Alcohol also can be a problem for drivers and travelers during the holidays.

To help combat any potential issues, AAA is offering its free “Tow to Go” program across the state. By calling 1-800-AAA-HELP, impaired drivers can have their vehicle, and themselves, towed back to their home safely and at no cost.

The service is open to anyone, not just AAA members, Brady said, and is available starting this weekend until the end of the year.

“This time of the year people are having fun with family and friends and they may drink too much,” she added. “The Tow to Go program is something we do to keep the roadways safe for everyone.”

Along with state and local law enforcement agencies, AAA is offering a unified front when it comes to safety on the roadways, Brady said.

The auto club is also promoting proper maintenance and care for your vehicle, as it could mean the difference between making it to your destination hassle free. Make sure the oil is changed, the tire pressure is good and the necessary fluids are topped off, for starters.

“Maintain the vehicle as best as possible,” Brady said.

For more information, visit www.AAA.com.