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Holiday travel to reach national record

December 16, 2014

Roads are busiest during the holidays, as people travel to see loved ones and celebrate the season. However, this year is looking to be the most crowded on record, according to a forecast by AAA. The automotive organization predicts over 98 million Americans will travel over 50 miles to holiday destinations, which is a 4 percent increase over last year's nearly 95 million people.

AAA has been keeping records of traffic data since 2001, and this year is shaping up to be the busiest for several reasons.

Reasons for the increase

AAA predicts record-breaking traffic this holiday season.
Gas prices are at a five-year low, which has created incentives for many to travel by car as opposed to plane or other methods. In fact, the source reported 9 out of 10 people will travel by car this season. Additionally, both Christmas and New Year's Day are on Thursdays, making opportunities for long weekends.

“'Tis the season for holiday travel, and this year, more Americans will join with friends and family to celebrate the holidays and ring in the new year than ever before,” Marshall L. Doney, AAA president and chief operating officer, said. “While the economy continues to improve at an uneven pace, it seems more Americans are looking forward with increasing consumer confidence rather than looking back at the recession. This is helping to drive expected travel volumes to the highest level we have seen for the year-end holidays.”

Additionally, a survey by GasBuddy asked 100,000 participants if low gas prices have any bearing on their holiday plans. Nearly 30 percent said they are planning to travel greater distances because of the cost.

Being careful

Because of this high volume, it is important to be safe while traveling this holiday season. With so many people on the roads, it will be that much more dangerous. According to AAA, the organization expects to rescue over 1 million motorists between December 23 and January 4. However, AAA also noted most of these incidents will stem from dead batteries or flat tires. The organization reminded drivers to make sure their vehicles are up to standard before beginning the drive.

AAA also assists travelers with routes and lodging accommodations should it be required. Yet, just because the organization is out there to help drivers, that doesn't mean drivers shouldn't take every precaution necessary. Make sure the vehicle is working properly, auto insurance is up-to-date and the trip is made safely.