The AAA automotive club projects nearly 43 million people will travel this Fourth of July weekend. The record-breaking number for this weekend means there will be a half million more travelers on the road and in the air than last year.
Joseph Richardson Jr., president and CEO of AAA, said low gas prices are driving the influx of travelers this summer.
“Independence Day is always the most-traveled holiday of the summer, but this year it will be bigger than ever, primarily because of low gas prices,” he said in a press release. “Airports will be just as crowded as the roads, because low fuel prices are making it more affordable to fly. If fundamentals remain the same, this could be a record-breaking year for summertime travel.”
According to AAA, motorists will set a new record for the third year in a row and gas prices are forecasted to be the lowest in 11 years.
Drivers have saved about $20 billion on gas this year, compared to last year. Mark Jenkins, AAA spokesman said low gas prices mean it’s more affordable to travel.
“When gas prices are this low, it just becomes more convenient to take a road trip and it doesn't seem that it's as expensive,” Jenkins said. “So when you head to the pump, it's not quite as painful as it may have been a couple of years ago when gas prices were around $3.50 gallon.”
However, with more vehicles on the road, Jenkins estimates they’ll rescue around 370,000 stranded motorists for a variety of reasons ranging from flat tires to dead batteries or general engine malfunction.
For those heading to the beach this weekend, it’s best to leave early to avoid traffic congestion and accidents.
“The beaches are certainly a hot destination for travelers, so you can expect more congestion if you’re heading toward the beach, all the more reason to leave early if you can,” Jenkins said. “People can get ahead of it by leaving earlier in the day. That'll also cut back on the risk of you running late and having to make any kind of bad decisions behind the wheel that could increase the likelihood of you getting into a crash.”
The holiday travel period is defined as Thursday, June 30 to Monday, July 4.