Fewer people are projected to be traveling this Thanksgiving holiday period, but motorists still need to exercise care and caution to ensure they make it to and from their destinations safely.
AAA Mid-Atlantic said last week that it projects a 1.5 percent decrease in holiday travelers this year. The number of travelers had been increasing the previous years as the economy improved.
According to AAA Mid-Atlantic, 43.4 million people will travel this holiday period. Ninety percent, or 38.9 million, of those will travel by automobile. That represents a 1.6 percent decline from last year.
The good news is that it will cost less this year. AAA Mid-Atlantic says median spending is expected to drop $33, down to $465 compared to last year. And the price of gas will be the cheapest that it has been since 2010. AAA Mid-Atlantic says there are many places across the country where the cost of a gallon of gas has dropped below $3.
Today will be the busiest single day of travel, the agency says, with 37 percent of travelers departing for trips. Don't forget though, that with the holiday period ending Sunday, all the traffic that was spread out over a few days in the beginning will be more concentrated at the end of the holiday, meaning the roads likely will be more crowded.
The weather is also likely to play a factor if your plans call for you leaving today. It is always good to check out the weather report prior to departing, not only for here, but also in areas you may be traveling through or to and, if need be, adjust your plans accordingly.
Experienced travelers know that it is best to be prepared with food, supplies and perhaps even some warm blankets in the back in case of an emergency. They also know that making sure the vehicle is in good operating condition, tire pressures are correct and fluids have been checked are good steps to take to help avoid any problems on the road.
Whether traveling far away or staying close to home, peak holiday travel periods with considerable additional traffic are times when we should be especially careful and exercise a little more caution on the roadways.