AAA: Record number of travelers for 4th of July weekend

By: Lanetra Bennett | WCTV Eyewitness News
June 30, 2017

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WCTV) -- A record number of Americans are expected to travel this Independence Day weekend.

The next four days will be the most crowded on the highways all summer long.

"There's a lot of traffic out there. Definitely a lot of more cars than I'm used to out on the highway right now." Said, one traveler, Lisa Ross.

It could be more cars than anyone's used to. AAA says more Americans will travel this 4th of July weekend than ever before, saying 37.5 million Americans will drive. That's up about three percent from last year.

That's why Ron and Donna Greer left Crestview, Florida early Friday. They said, "I hate traffic jams. We're going to Jacksonville so we didn't want to get stuck in that afternoon traffic. And we had today off. So we left early. Early bird gets the worm."

Traffic and other factors have the Sanchez Family running about three hours behind on their holiday trip.

They're driving from Corpus Christi, Texas to Orlando.

"Lots of delays, traffic delays; lots of bad weather, lots of rain. But, it was all worth the drive over here. The scenery is beautiful. We're looking forward to a nice rest of the week and weekend."

Chrissy Ainsley is driving her daughter to Cape Canaveral. She said, "When we first started out, it wasn't too bad. But, after about 30 minutes, we started seeing everybody getting on the road. We've already seen one person pulled over. So, y'all watch out."

Authorities also urge everyone to watch out.

If nothing else, make sure to pack patience for your 4th of July trip.

The Florida Highway Patrol reminds drivers to make sure their vehicle is road-ready, buckle up, never drive impaired, and don't text and drive.

"We see it every day. It's worse than drinking and driving. It's worse than drinking and driving. Don't text. It's scary. Put your phones down." Greer said.

AAA says one of the biggest factors that's "driving" all of this summer traffic is dropping gas prices.

By the Numbers: Independence Day Travel Forecast

44.2 million Americans are expected to travel → 2.9% more than last year
2.3 million Floridians are expected to travel → 4.8% more than last year
37.5 million Americans will drive → 2.9% more than last year
2 million Floridians will drive → 5% more than last year
3.4 million Americans will fly → 4.6% more than last year
168,556 Floridians will fly → 5.1% more than last year
3.3 million Americans will take other modes of transportation → 1.4% more than last year
125,305 Floridians will take other modes of transportation → 1.4% more than last year

Prices are on par or lower than last year.

Gas prices could hit 13-year lows for the holiday
Airfares will average $186 → 10% less than last year
Daily car rental rates will average $65 → 14% less than last year
Hotel prices will average $185 → the same as last year

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