Holiday traffic expected to be heavy
Approximately 50.9 million Americans are expected to travel 50 miles or more from home for the Thanksgiving holiday, a 3.3 percent increase over last year’s estimated figures.
AAA is forecasting that the 2017 holiday weekend will see the highest Thanksgiving travel volume since 2005, with 1.6 million more people taking to the nation’s roads, skies, rails and waterways compared with last year. Officials reported that the holiday travel period is defined as Nov. 22 to 26.
“Thanksgiving kicks off the start of a busy holiday season, and more thankful Americans will travel to spend time with friends and family this year,” Bill Sutherland, AAA senior vice president for travel and publishing, said in a prepared statement. “A strong economy and labor market are generating rising incomes and higher consumer confidence, fueling a strong year for the travel industry, which will continue into the holiday season.”
November’s national average price for gas is $2.54, which is 37 cents more than 2016.
Officials reported that drivers will pay the highest Thanksgiving gas prices since 2014, yet a vast majority of holiday travelers – 89.3 percent – are still planning to hit the road. Automobile travel will grow by 3.2 percent this Thanksgiving, with 45.5 million Americans planning a holiday road trip.
In addition, travelers taking to the skies will pay the lowest average in five years for a round-trip flight for the top 40 domestic routes. At $157 on average, that is a 23 percent fare drop year-over-year.
For those planning a trip, local authorities have same tips to keep everyone safe.
“Traffic volumes are going to up, so try to take some extra time to get where you’re going,” Cpl. Phil Mullen, a spokesman for the Cape Coral Police Department, said. “We don’t want people to get in a spot where they’re late and then speed, putting themselves in a dangerous situation.”
Always wear a seat belt.
“If you are in a crash, your odds of being seriously injured or killed go way up if you don’t wear it,” he said.
Check your vehicle’s tire pressure, top the fluids off and make sure the signal lights work.
“So you’re not going to break down on the side of the road,” Mullen said.
Do not drink and drive; have a designated driver, use a ride app or stay where you are for the night.
“There’s a lot of ways not to get behind a wheel while impaired,” he said.
The CCPD will be on the lookout over the long weekend.
“Our patrol guys will be out there,” Mullen said. “They work every holiday.”
“We want everyone to get where they’re going safety,” he added.
The Florida Highway Patrol will increase its presence through Nov. 26. All sworn FHP personnel, including Auxiliary and Reserve troopers, will be patrolling the state’s high-volume roadways.
AAA and Budweiser are again offering the Tow to Go program Nov. 22 through 6 a.m. Nov. 26 for the holiday weekend. The aim is to help discourage intoxicated drivers from getting behind the wheel.
“Everyone deserves to enjoy the Thanksgiving holiday safely,” Amy Stracke, executive director for AAA’s Auto Club Group Traffic Safety Foundation, said in a prepared statement. “If you or your loved ones will be celebrating with alcohol, please plan ahead for a safe ride home.”
The program provides a confidential ride to the intoxicated driver – and a tow for their vehicle – to their home or to a safe location within a 10-mile radius. The service is free and available to anyone.
Drivers do not have to be a AAA member to use the program.
“The Tow To Go program is an effective way to promote the use of Designated Drivers and help prevent impaired driving,” Katja Zastrow, vice president of Corporate Social Responsibility for Anheuser-Busch, said in a prepared statement. “We are proud to partner with AAA and their roadside assistance drivers to help keep our roads safe.”
To use the Tow to Go program, call 855-2-TOW-2-GO (855-286-9246).
For more information, visit autoclubsouth.aaa.com.