Experts predict record travel for holiday weekend
Published 3:00 am Friday, July 1, 2016
This Fourth of July weekend will be the most travelled in recorded history, according to numbers released by AAA Monday.
Troy Police Chief Randall Barr said that Troy will likely have a higher traffic volume for the weekend as well. “I would expect an increase in traffic, especially with July Fourth being on a Monday,” he said. “More people tend to come when it’s a three-day weekend.”
Barr said that extra officers will be out to try to keep traffic at a slower pace, to check for seat belts and to increase visibility. “Leave early to give yourself plenty of time to get to your destination safely,” he said.
AAA projects 43 million people will travel over the weekend, 5 million more travelers than Memorial Day weekend.
“Spurred by the lowest gas prices since 2005, more people than ever are planning to travel this Independence Day weekend,” said Clay Ingram, AAA Alabama spokesperson. The state average for gas prices as of the release was $2.09, a 42-cent drop from last year. Airfares were also down 9 percent and AAA found hotel rates to be slightly lower than last year.
“Whether they’re traveling by car, plane, train, or cruise ship, it will be exciting to see so many Americans celebrating our nation’s freedom with their friends and family over the long holiday weekend,” Ingram said. Travel by car is expected to be up one percent over last year, while air travel is projected to be up over two percent.
The Alabama Department of Transportation (ALDOT) is warning drivers not to engage in risky driving behaviors such as speeding and driving under the influence. ALDOT advises Alabama residents to choose a designated driver before drinking. According to department studies, motorists are six times more likely to die in a crash when under the influence of drugs or alcohol. Studies also found that Alabama ranks twelfth in the nation for speeding-related traffic fatalities.
ALDOT also announced Wednesday that there will be no temporary lane closures on Alabama interstates from noon Friday, July 1, to midnight Monday, July 4, in order to accommodate heavy holiday traffic.
Ingram said that Americans can expect more busy traffic throughout the summer. “We are well on our way for 2016 to be a record-breaking year for summertime travel,” he said. “This trend is welcome news for the travel industry and a sign that Americans are taking to our nation’s highways and skies like never before.”