Heavy holiday travel predicted
The 4th of July is the most traveled summer holiday, with motorists ready to red, white and vroom to their holiday destinations in record fashion.
This year, AAA predicts more Americans will hit the road for the 4th than ever before, with 46.9 million journeying 50 miles or more away from home-the highest number AAA has seen since they began tracking 18 years ago.
“We are already seeing a busy summer travel season and Independence Day will be no exception,” said Vicky Evans, assistant vice president, Travel Sales Development, AAA in a written statement. “Consumers remain confident in the economy and have additional disposable income to put toward a summer getaway.”
AAA defines the Independence Day holiday period this year from Tuesday, July 3 to Sunday, July 8.
They expect the busiest day on the road to be Tuesday, July 3.
AAA says the increased travelers may be due to the holiday falling on a Wednesday, allowing people more flexibility to start a trip the weekend before or after.
“Despite being on a Wednesday, we still expect a record-amount of travelers for Independence Day. All it means is that people are more likely to take time off and tie the day into either the weekend before, after, or both, and make it one big holiday week,” said Mark Jenkins, AAA Florida spokesperson.
Lower gas prices may also play a part in why 142,000 more Floridians are expected to take to the roads this year.
“Declining gas prices will give Americans one more reason to celebrate this Independence Day,” Jenkins said. “After paying some of the highest gas prices in more than three years, this break couldn’t come at a better time.”
Pump prices peaked at $2.97 Memorial Day Weekend, the national average has since declined by nine cents. As of this past week, a gallon of gas in Florida averaged $2.73 and $2.88 nationwide.
“If you’re planning an extended drive, get plenty of rest before hitting the road. Take plenty of breaks while on your journey, Practice your patience. There will be more drivers on the roads this Independence Day than ever before,” Jenkins stated. “More cars means more risk of a crash. Leave early and allow extra time to get to your destination, so you do not feel the urge to take any added risks while behind the wheel. While driving, remove all distractions. Put the cell phone down and wear your seat belt. If you are under the influence of drugs or alcohol, do not drive. Call a cab, a friend, a designated driver, or AAA. We are offering Tow to Go, which is a free service for anyone in Florida. By calling 1-855-2TOW-2GO, AAA will send a tow truck to pick you and car up and take you home or to a safe place within a 10 mile radius.”
The Tow to Go option can help prevent serious crashes and injuries, along with potentially keeping you out of jail and without a license as the Cape Coral Police Department will be on the look out for drunk drivers.
“The Patrol Unit is always actively patrolling for impaired drivers and will continue to do so over the Fourth of July holiday,” said Master Sergeant Allan Kolak, Public Affairs Officer for CCPD.
He also states that CCPD does not expect to see a huge traffic back up other than on July 4 due to the Cape Coral Bridge closure.
“Because the holiday falls on a Wednesday we do not expect a significant increase in traffic over the weekend but do during road closures for the Red, White & BOOM! event,” he said.
Cape Coral bridge on Cape Coral Parkway will be closed from 3 a.m. the morning of July 4 until 3 a.m. July 5.
“We will have eight officers from the bicycle unit assisting the zone officers for the entire event. We ask that citizens plan now to determine alternate routes during this time period.”