AAA Releases Holiday Weekend Travel Report

Officials with AAA are already predicting a big travel weekend, partially due to the recent dip in gas prices.

"We're traveling from Jacksonville to Atlanta, so we're traveling and all my friends are traveling,” says one traveler for the July 4 weekend, Kristen Jones.

Jones will join some 40-million other Americans, traveling this upcoming Fourth of July weekend.

That's how many people AAA predicts will be hitting the highway.

The Fourth of July weekend is said to be the heaviest travel period of the summer. Area motorists say the recent dip in gas prices is good news.

"I jumped back and said '$1.95,' and I jumped over here and said 'Oh, my goodness.' I wanted to get gas now while it's $1.95, because next week it will be $2,” explains traveler Jackie Lawrence.

"We use to complain, now, you're happy for every cent you can get now!!!" adds traveler DeMarrius Price.

According to AAA, the national gas average is down about 10 cents from the record it hit over the Memorial Day holiday.

And that's why this year, about three-percent more travelers are expected to travel this Fourth of July weekend than last year.

"Memorial Day weekend, the gas prices shot up high. And now that it's a holiday weekend, the prices are coming back down real low. But I guarantee you, the prices are going back up again,” adds resident Karen Melin.

AAA estimates about 2.3-million Floridians will hit the road for the big travel weekend, compared to 1.1-million Georgians. Extended Web Coverage

Holiday Driving Tips

Vehicle Preparation and Packing

  • Have your vehicle checked before traveling. Many garages offer safety checks for tire tread and pressure, lights, brakes, cooling systems and other components.

  • Make sure everything is securely stowed when you pack your vehicle. Even small objects can become dangerous missiles in the event of a sudden stop or a crash.

  • If you’re towing a trailer or caravan, load heavy objects evenly over all of the axles.

Trailers and Caravans

  • Check all towing attachments and make sure the couplings are compatible. Also remember to check the safety chain, trailer lights, tires and brakes.

  • Remember that if you are towing a trailer your maximum speed limit on the open road is 55 mph.

  • Keep right .

Driver Fatigue

  • Long journeys can be tiring and driver fatigue is a serious problem, contributing to 55 fatal crashes last year.

  • Get plenty of sleep before your journey and try to drive at times of the day when you are normally awake.

  • Take your time and plan for rest breaks every couple of hours. Get out of your vehicle and take a short walk or do some other exercise to get your blood flowing and improve alertness. If you feel tired, take a short nap (less than 40 minutes).

  • If possible, share the driving.

  • Don’t drink and drive and don’t speed. Many fatigue-related crashes also involve these two factors.

  • Use air conditioning if your vehicle has it. Cool air will keep you more alert and will help avoid frustration and stress, which is a major cause of fatigue.

Keep Your Cool

  • Be courteous - let others merge into traffic and use your indicators before turning or changing lanes.

  • Keep right unless passing.

  • Be patient and don’t be provoked by another driver’s aggressive behavior.

  • Watch out for children on the road. Young cyclists and pedestrians can be unpredictable and poor judges of vehicle speed.

Buckle Up

  • Too many family holidays are marred by tragedy when a crash occurs and people aren’t properly restrained.

  • It’s the driver’s responsibility to make sure that all passengers are wearing safety belts.

  • The law requires children to be restrained in approved child seats suitable to their size and weight.

Share the Road

  • Always keep a safe following distance between yourself and the vehicle in front. This gives you a safe stopping distance should the vehicle in front of you stop suddenly.

  • Be patient. Trucks and towing vehicles have lower speed limits. If you’re traveling behind a slower vehicle, wait for a passing lane or until you can see clear road ahead of you and enough space to overtake safely.

  • After overtaking a larger vehicle, don’t slow down quickly or cut in too closely. Larger vehicles take a longer time to brake and you could end up getting hit from behind.

  • Be aware that large vehicles may need more room to turn.

Source: (The Department of Transportation Web site) contributed to this report.