AAA Expects Another Record Year During Holiday Travel Period

The upcoming two-week holiday period will see a record number of travelers across the U.S., according to a recent estimate from traffic safety group AAA.

The AAA’s release of its travel-related estimates covers the holiday period between Dec. 21 and Jan. 1.

The company, also an insurance provider for vehicles, typically releases similar estimates preceding major holidays and seasonal events. Last month, AAA predicted that economic problems would reduce the number of Thanksgiving travelers to around 43.4 million.

The estimate of total travelers in the upcoming two-week period: 94.5 million, or almost 1 out of every 3 Americans.

According to the AAA, the estimate is based on projections of Americans traveling 50 miles or more, represents a .6 percent increase from last year’s figure and is the fifth-straight annual estimate higher than the year before it.

Roadways will be more crowded with travelers as they increasingly shirk air travel, the AAA said in its report. According to the AAA, 85.8 million travelers are expected to do so by a vehicle, which is 91 percent of all holiday travelers and a higher figure than the number of holiday drivers during the holiday season last year.

Meanwhile, AAA said it predicts air travel “to decline slightly.”

Pre-Trip Car Care Can be Key for Holiday-ers

AAA estimated that more than 3.75 million drivers for any number of the unfortunate mishaps that can befall them in the winter cold, with reporting citing dead batteries, flat tires and lockouts being the most common reasons that drivers seek out the company’s services.

According to the AAA, drivers should “check battery and tire condition and prepare vehicles for winter driving before heading out on a holiday getaway.” Drivers seeking more information can also visit the AAA on its website for “car care tips and information.”

Online Auto Insurance released a number of recent seasonal advisories for drivers who are looking to beef up their car insurance policy to maximize protection and ready the vehicle itself to withstand changing weather conditions.

Traffic safety advisories are typically released shortly before and during the holidays. Generally, holiday advisories issued this year have warned drivers against the easily-overlooked dangers of drunk driving and distracted driving that become even easier to overlook during the holidays.

The AAA said that its latest advisory, released Tuesday, is “a timely appeal to everyone on the road to be extra diligent about the dangers of impaired driving particularly when holiday partygoers may risk getting behind the wheel after a festive evening.”

“Despite the ubiquitous warnings about drinking and driving especially during the holiday season, alcohol-related crashes still represent one in three motor vehicle deaths,” Brad Roeber, AAA’s regional president in Chicago, said in a statement.

The advice about careful driving is aptly timed to harsh weather conditions that have left drivers at the mercy of icy and slick roads across the U.S. over recent weeks and continue to wreak havoc on holiday travel plans. On Thursday, the Associated Press reported that a storm system  ”stalled over” northern Utah and dumped so much snow and icy weather that it is “triggering some power outages and dozens of slide-offs and crashes on area roads.”

As of press time, the AP reported that traffic on the Interstate 15 is “moving at a crawl.”

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