JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – If you are planning to get away for the holiday weekend, get ready for lots of company.
AAA projects more Americans than ever are planning to travel to celebrate the Fourth of July. Wednesday is expected to be the busiest day for travel between 3 p.m. and 7 p.m.
AAA estimates 48.9 million Americans will travel more than 50 miles, marking the largest amount of travelers over the holiday in almost two decades.
In Florida, more than 2.5 million people are expected to get away with a majority of those hitting the roads. AAA said 2.3 million Floridians will travel by car, up more than 5% from last year.
“Low gas prices are added motivation for Floridians to travel for Independence Day,” said Mark Jenkins, spokesman for AAA-The Auto Club Group. “Unfortunately, pump prices could rise 10 cents or more before the holiday, due to a recent spike in the price of crude. Even if that happens, holiday travelers should find prices that are well below what they paid at the pump last year.”
As of Wednesday morning, the average gas price in the Sunshine State is $2.66, which is several cents less than this time last year.
This year, more travelers in Florida are also expected to fly despite more expensive airfares, according to AAA.
Safety on the roads
With many drivers hitting the road for the Fourth of July holiday weekend, AAA is reminding drivers of a few things they need to do to stay safe.
"Wear your seat belt, obviously rule No. 1. Turn on the car, buckle up. Eliminate distractions, so put the phone away. (You) can't text and drive anymore anyway. It's against the law. The police are going to be out there looking for that sort of thing. So just put it away. Ignore it. Have the passenger be your secretary for your drive," said Heather Plawecki, with North Central Florida AAA.
AAA said get gas before you hit the roads, check your tire pressure and get an oil change.
If you're traveling with kids here are a few tips.
"Snack it up. Coloring books. Books. Activities. Play games with them. Stuff to keep them kind of occupied so they're not screaming, 'Are we there yet?'" Plawecki said.
If you run into trouble on the roads, AAA says you can call it or the Florida Highway Patrol.
Save money while traveling
There are a couple of ways you can keep more money in your pocket to enjoy the holiday while staying safe on the roads.
Get a tune-up for your car. This will allow you to burn less gas.
Speaking of gas, if your car doesn't have to use premium, use a cheaper gas option.
Lastly, call your insurance company and ask about a good driver discount.