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Editorial: Here's to safe travels

Holiday travel will be a bit busier this year; something to consider as families pack up the vehicles and get ready to head out to visit relatives for the Christmas or New Year holidays.

AAA Mid-Atlantic offered its traditional holiday travel forecast this week. According to the agency, more than 1.9 million residents will travel 50 miles or more over the 11-day holiday period between Saturday and Jan. 1. That represents a 1.2 percent increase over last year. According to the agency, it is also the highest volume of year-end holiday travel by state residents since the auto club began forecasting state travel in 2001.

According to a survey completed by the agency, the average number of round-trip miles expected to be traveled by residents over the holiday period is 765, which is up from 747 the year before. But the survey also indicated that more adults will be traveling without children or other adults.

"More adults traveling versus families may be an indication of an aging population and perhaps parents taking a much needed getaway without the kids for the New Year's holiday," said Ragina C. Averella, Public and Government Affairs Manager at AAA Mid-Atlantic in a press release this week.

Many more people typically fly to more distant locations over the Christmas and New Year holidays, but for those driving, they will find prices at the pump are about 50 cents a gallon less than they were in September. Still, according to AAA, the $3.27 average price for a gallon of gas is about 6 cents higher than it was last year.

Whether staying close to home or traveling far, exercising common sense, obeying the traffic laws and driving at a pace that is reasonable for the weather and road conditions are important factors in having a safe trip.

Here's wishing everyone a safe and happy Christmas and New Year.

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