Next weekend’s holiday marks the unofficial start of summer and the official start of summer vacation season.
Gail Weinholzer, at AAA-Iowa, predicts it’ll be the busiest Memorial Day for travel in more than a decade.
“Thirty-nine-point-three-million Americans will travel at least 50 miles or more between Thursday, May 25th and Monday, May 29th,” Weinholzer says. “That’s the highest level since 2005.”
The boost in travel numbers can be attributed to several things. “We saw it last year, all five major holidays saw an increase over the previous year and obviously, we’re starting off that way this year,” Weinholzer says. “People must be feeling better about the economy as well as the fact that gas prices, while just a smidge above last year, are still much lower than in previous years.”
Before taking off on a three-day weekend road trip, she suggests spending a little time on car care. “You want to make sure your car is in good working order,” Weinholzer says. “Check the tires, the oil, all those sorts of things. You want to make sure you don’t break down. Breaking down can not only be inconvenient but dangerous as well.” A rise in the number of travelers on the highways means a rise in the risks for having a fender bender, or worse.
“A lot of people are going to be on the roads,” Weinholzer says. “Eighty-eight percent of all travelers, nearly 35-million Americans, will be in their personal automobiles. Do the right things: Slow down, pay attention, drive sober and buckle up.”
Gas prices in Iowa are averaging $2.25 a gallon, that’s up four cents from a year ago and is a dime below the national average.