LIMA — An expected 41.5 million Americans (1.6 million Ohioans) will be traveling at least 50 miles from home on Memorial Day weekend, making it the highest Memorial Day travel volume since 2005, according to AAA.
Although, according to the GasBuddy website, the average national gas price is $2.96 and the average for Ohio is $2.86, travel is still anticipated this holiday weekend.
“The highest gas prices since 2014 won’t keep travelers home this Memorial Day week,” said senior vice president, AAA Travel and Publishing, Bill Sutherland, in a news release. “A strong economy and growing consumer confidence are giving Americans all the motivation they need to kick off what we expect to be a busy summer travel season with a Memorial Day getaway.”
AAA predicts that 1.5 million Ohio travelers — more than 90 percent of those traveling — will be traveling by car for Memorial Day, which is 4.6 percent more than last year. Approximately 89,000 will travel by plane, a 6.9 percent increase from last year. The Transportation Security Administration predicts a higher volume of air travelers during Memorial Day weekend through Labor Day, according to a Los Angeles Times article.
INRIX, a global transportation analytics company, expects travel delays on major roads, with traffic taking three times longer than usual. The company expects that the busiest travel times will be late afternoon Thursday and Friday.
“There will be increased traffic in Lima during Memorial Day weekend,” said Cindy Nelson, AAA Ohio Auto Club Sales Manager. “If you’re going to be traveling make sure you are leaving early and allowing plenty of time because there are more people on the road and you do not want to be stuck during those peak hours.”
AAA also expects that the company will assist 340,000 motorists will roadside assistance during this holiday season. The most expected request will be assistance with, routine maintenance, dead batteries, checking tire conditions, flat tires, lockouts, according to AAA.
The company advises that before traveling, drivers should make sure that they have mobile cell phone chargers, a first-aid kit, drinking water, snacks, and flashlight with extra batteries.
“It’s coming up quick but make sure that you have everything in your vehicle,” said Nelson. “Make sure that you have an emergency road kit because you don’t know what will happen.”
Nelson also believes that it is important for families to check out routes ahead of time due to increased traffic and construction zones.
“It’s important to be aware of what your alternative routes are,” said Nelson. “A lot of times the GPS shows you just point A to point B and it doesn’t always take into effect the route. Have an idea of what your backup plan is if you come to one of those areas.”
Reach Camri Nelson at 567-242-0456 or on Twitter @CamriNews.