AAA: Marylanders expected to travel in record numbers July 4

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With Independence Day falling on a Friday this year, many Marylanders are gearing up to travel and take advantage of the entire weekend to celebrate, according to Christine Delise, public affairs specialist for AAA Mid-Atlantic.

An estimated 41 million Americans will be on the road this Fourth of July weekend, a 1.9 percent increase from last year, according to a news release from AAA Mid-Atlantic.

For the fifth consecutive year, more Maryland residents are expected to travel for July 4, setting the highest volume on record for the Independence Day holiday, according to Ragina Cooper-Averella, manager of public and government affairs at AAA Mid-Atlantic.

"Marylanders, like Americans across the country, appear to be confident as the economy continues to show signs of progress although at a slow rate, and are pulling out their credit cards to pay for their holiday getaway," Cooper-Averella said in a prepared release.

Hampstead resident Stephanie Cooper is one of the 828,000 Maryland residents AAA has projected will travel 50 miles or more for the holiday, a 1.6 increase from last year. Cooper said she is headed to Greensburg, Pennsylvania, with family for the long weekend.

Adam Zepp, a Westminster resident, said he'll be traveling as well, but a much shorter distance. He plans to go to Fort McHenry in Baltimore to watch the fireworks and hang out with friends Friday.

With 718,000 Maryland residents who plan to drive this holiday, a 1.8 percent increase this year, nearly 62,000 residents will travel by air, a 1.5 percent increase from last year, while only 6 percent of the travelers will journey by bus, train or watercraft, according to a press release from AAA.

Before taking any road trip, AAA advises you get your car inspected for the following things - tire pressure, the condition of the battery, the condition of the wiper blades and the washer fluid levels, and making sure the belts and hoses are in order, according to Wes Golden, car care manager at AAA Mid-Atlantic in Columbia.

In preparation for the road trip, make sure your car is equipped with a first-aid kit, a flashlight and an emergency kit including jumper cables and flares, water and snacks, Golden says.