AAA projects nearly 47 million Americans will travel this Independence Day, the highest Fourth of July travel volume on record, since AAA began tracking holiday travel 18 years ago.
“Even with national gas prices 60 cents higher over last year, more of us than ever will be traveling this Independence Day holiday,” said Marilyn Buskohl, spokeswoman for AAA South Dakota. “And it’s not just auto travel numbers that are higher – we’re predicting air travel will take off, also.”
A record-high 137,400 South Dakotans are expected to travel over the Fourth of July holiday, according to AAA. Eighty-five percent will drive, eight percent will fly and the rest will be traveling by other means, including ship, train, bus and multi-modal.
“We are well on our way for 2018 to be a record-breaking year for summertime travel,” said Buskohl. “This is welcome news for all of those in the travel industry, from hotels and attractions to restaurants and local shops.”
With record-level travelers hitting the road this holiday, drivers must be aware of the “three deadly D’s” while driving over the fourth:
- Driving Drunk. Over the holidays, up to 40 percent of all motor vehicle crashes involve alcohol. Use designated drivers, call a cab, or use a ride-sharing provider. And as you drive, bear in mind that many of the vehicles you encounter on the road are going to be piloted by drivers under the influence. Drive defensively.
- Driving under the Influence of Distractions. Diversions in a vehicle are many and varied: cell phones, iPods, GPS systems, food, beverages, other passengers – the list goes on. Limit all of these distractions as you drive and if you’re a passenger, help improve your safety margin by allowing drivers to give their full attention to what they’re doing – driving. Remember that when drivers take their eyes off the road for as little as two seconds, their crash risk doubles.
- Driving Drowsy. Falling asleep at the wheel is much more common than we think. Fatigue robs us of the power to make quick, smart decisions as we drive. And in the summertime, drowsy driving is an even greater threat as warmer temperatures make us sleepier. Get plenty of rest before driving, stop frequently to stretch your legs and don’t try to drive too many hours in any one day; six or seven hours is about the limit if you want to be safe.
Allow extra time to get to destinations, pack an extra dose or two of patience and always buckle up.