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Hitting the road? You're not alone... Tips & Tricks for safe holiday travels

A record-breaking 4.5 million Carolinians plan to travel during the year-end holiday season this year, which is a 3.1 percent increase from last year. (Photo credit: WLOS Staff)

Planning on hitting the road this holiday weekend? You’re not the only one.

A record-breaking 4.5 million Carolinians plan to travel during the year-end holiday season this year, which is a 3.1 percent increase from last year. AAA Carolinas forecasts approximately 3.1 million North Carolinians and 1.4 South Carolinians will travel by automobiles, planes, trains and other modes of transportation. The year-end holiday period is defined as Saturday, Dec. 23 through Monday, Jan. 1.

The majority of travelers will be driving to their destinations, with close to 2.8 million North Carolinians and just over 1.3 million South Carolinians hitting the roads over the 10 day holiday period.

“Higher prices at the gas pumps are not preventing Carolinians from getting behind the wheel to visit with family and friends,” said Dave Parsons, president and CEO of AAA Carolinas. “With record numbers on the road, we want to remind everyone to buckle up, never drink and drive, eliminate distractions and exercise patience to help prevent road rage.”

Carolinians driving to their holiday destinations will encounter higher gas prices than last year. North Carolina’s current average is $2.31, compared to $2.18 last year. With the lowest average in the nation, South Carolina is currently at $2.16 compared to last year’s $2.03.

AAA Carolinas recommends that motorists avoid driving through major cities during peak travel times. The best times to leave are typically early morning or after the morning commute because the roads should be less crowded and motorists will have more time to reach their destinations safely. Traveling on the holiday itself often results in fewer cars on the road.

“The holidays can be stressful as drivers head to busy shopping centers for that perfect gift or battle congested freeways while traveling,” said AAA Carolinas Foundation for Traffic Safety president Tiffany Wright. “Minor frustrations have the potential to turn deadly if drivers act out their anger on the road. Travelers need to pack their patience and remember to be respectful behind the wheel this holiday season.”

Other tips:

  • Map your route in advance and be prepared for busy roads.
  • Keep valuables in the trunk or covered storage area.
  • Have your roadside assistance contact information on hand in case an incident occurs on the road.
  • Keep a cell phone and charger with you at all times, in case of emergency.
  • Obey traffic safety laws: Wear your seatbelt. Don’t speed. Don’t drink and drive. Eliminate distractions behind the wheel, such as mobile devices. Disconnect and drive.
  • Before hitting the road, make sure your vehicle is road-trip ready. Stop by a trusted repair shop for an inspection.
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