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Expect More Motorists This Holiday Season

Associated Press
Bumper to bumper traffic in Tampa Bay

If you're going to be hitting the road for the holidays this year, make sure to pack some extra patience - you'll have a lot of company out there.

About 5.2 million Floridians are expected to drive somewhere for the holidays this year. That's a 2 percent increase from last year.

Mark Jenkins of AAA said that the increased number is due to the recent dip in gas prices.

"We're looking at the cheapest gas prices in seven years," he said. "That's more disposable income, more of an incentive for [people] to take a trip."

Jenkins encouraged drivers to leave early to avoid congestion. 

And before you take off on your holiday road trip, Florida Highway Patrol officials remind you to make sure that your vehicle is in good working order by checking your wipers, your headlights and your tires. 

Just as importantly, FHP Sergeant Steve Gaskins said you should eliminate distractions. That means not texting or eating while driving. He also suggested that people should take turns driving to prevent drowsy driving. 

"And always, always - no matter how long or short the trip is - put your seatbelt on and leave it on," he said.

The Florida Department of Transportation said that lanes that have been closed because of construction will be opened on Wednesday through Sunday. 

Quincy J. Walters is a junior at USF, majoring in English with a concentration in creative writing. His interest in journalism spurred from the desire to convey compelling narratives. He has written for USF’s student paper, The Oracle and is currently the videographer for Creative Pinellas. If he’s not listening to NPR, he’s probably listening to Randy Newman.
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