Many Iowans will be celebrating their freedom this coming holiday weekend by hitting the open highway for a road trip. Mark Peterson, with AAA-Iowa, says they’re predicting a big boost in Fourth of July travel.
“AAA is projecting 41.9 million Americans will be traveling 50 miles or more from home this Independence Day,” Peterson says. “That’s the most since 2007. Independence Day is typically the busiest summer travel weekend for us. We think the rising income driven by a strong employment market is prompting more Americans to take a holiday trip this year.”
He says there’s another reason so many Iowans will be on the road… “We think travel numbers will be increasing because we’re looking at some of the lowest gas prices we’ve seen in five years on any previous 4th of Julys,” Peterson says. “We’re looking at a difference in price of about 90 cents across the board and with that, we’re going to be seeing a lot more people out there traveling.”
The statewide average price for gas is $2.71, down from $3.54 a year ago. With so many people on the roads, Independence Day weekend is also one of the most dangerous times to be on the highway. During the holiday last year, seven people were killed on Iowa’s roads.
“With the 4th of July, one of the deadliest holidays of the year, we’ll be asking our travelers to do their due diligence and make a few plans,” Peterson says. “If you can leave a little bit earlier, by all means, do so, or at the tail end of the trip, if you can take a little more time coming in or travel even possibly the next day and break up that time and get away from some of the masses that are traveling.”
Also, don’t try to make an exceptionally long drive home in one day, if possible. He suggests trying to break that up into two days to avoid fatigue. Of all people who will be vacationing this weekend, he says nearly 85-percent of travelers will be in motor vehicles.