AAA Predicts Slight Uptick in Holiday Traffic Volume

AAA is predicting that more Americans will travel this holiday season, despite a sluggish economy, but they will likely venture less far than last year.

The motor club estimates that 91.9 million U.S. residents will travel 50 miles or more from home, a 1.4 percent increase compared with 2010. And perhaps because of the sluggish economy, most of them will drive, with 83.6 million U.S. residents planning to hit the road—a 2.1 percent increase over last year–according to AAA.

“It’s a positive sign for the travel industry that so many Americans are planning to travel this holiday season, collectively contributing to the second-highest year-end holiday travel volume in the past 10 years,” Bill Sutherland, AAA Travel Services vice president, said in a news release. “As our lives get busier, it is so important to create opportunities for the rest and rejuvenation that result from vacation travel and connecting with family and friends, especially during the holidays.”

According to AAA, 59 percent of those planning to travel feel that either the economy has no impact on their plans or their personal situation has improved enough to make their plans feasible. The remaining 41 percent said they were scaling back travel plans because of economic concerns.

Monthly crash volumes, 2009That is a change from last year, when 67 percent of intending travelers said their plans were not impacted by the economic conditions.

Along with increased roadway traffic comes heightened risk of vehicle accidents and other problems. Federal safety officials say December and January are the months with the greatest number and rate of vehicle crashes.

According to 2009 data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), there were 539,000 crashes in January and 525,000 in December. The average monthly crash volume was about 459,000 for that year.

Safety officials say being involved in a crash—even one in which no one is seriously hurt—can be a traumatic experience with long-lasting effects. And insurance industry experts say the impact of accidents on auto insurance rates can be significant for those who are found to have been at fault in crashes.

About Matthew Morisset
Matthew Morisset is a proud alumnus of the University of Redlands, where he obtained a degree in English Literature. Utilizing his passion for analysis and writing, Matthew looks for important trends in the auto insurance industry and their implications for consumers and the market as a whole.

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