AAA is reporting that 103 million Americans, the most on record, are expected to travel for the year-end holiday period, which is Dec. 23, to Jan. 2, 2017. With the inflated numbers of expected travel, Ohio State Highway Patrol (OSHP) Portsmouth Post is advising motorists to take extra precautions while on the highways.
Reportedly, the expected 103 million will reflect a 1.5 percent increase, or 1.5 million more people traveling, in comparison to 2015. AAA Officials said the increase in holiday travel this year is being driven by additional consumer spending, a result of improvements in the labor market and rising wages.
AAA East Central President Jim Lehman said families will reap the benefits of the increase in travel.
“It’s exciting to see the increase in travel and to know that more people will be bringing cheer to family and friends,” Lehman said. “With gas prices holding steady, it should make for a joyous holiday travel season.”
Additionally, low gas prices and increased consumer optimism will prompt more Americans than ever to set out on road trips, take to the skies, or board trains, buses and cruise ships to celebrate the holidays, according to AAA.
Sergeant John Howard, of the OSHP Portsmouth Post, said the expected increase should spur motorists to slow down, be attentive and utilize defensive driving practices.
“Obviously, around this season, Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Years there will be a higher volume of traffic. There are a few things that drivers need to kind in mind, and that is to slow down, be attentive, and be defensive drivers,” Howard said. “I think defensive driving is one of those things that is very important to have in your mind before you even take to the highways and roadways.”
Howard warns of the dangers of driving on wet roadways.
“I left the Post the other day, and it was cold outside, and the roads were wet and it was 30 degrees,” Howard said. “You wouldn’t know that the roads would be frozen. However, the roads were very slippery, and we had a lot of wrecks. So, people need to be attentive when the roadways are wet. You need to know what the temperature is, and if it is below freezing, then more than likely you are going to hit some icy spots. I think it is all about pre-planning. When you are planning ahead, you are thinking about dangers, you think about driving and being prepared so that you can do as much as you can to ensure safety while you are on the road.”
AAA officials said they expect to rescue more than 980,000 motorists over the 11-day holiday travel period, with the primary reasons being dead batteries, flat tires and lockouts. AAA recommends drivers have their vehicles inspected by a trusted repair shop, such as one of the nearly 7,000 AAA Approved Auto Repair facilities across North America. Members can download the AAA Mobile app, visit AAA.com or call 1-800-AAA-HELP to request roadside assistance.
For More Information, Contact: Herman Jenkins, director of Public Affairs at 412-365-7278 or Jenkins.Herman@aaaec.com
Reach Portia Williams at 740-464-3862, or on Twitter @PortiaWillPDT.