Despite the reality of having a week of school behind us and everyone settling in to their new routines, many families are heading out for the traditional end of the summer travel season that marks the Labor Day weekend, and that means we need to exercise a little more care on the roadways.
According to AAA Mid-Atlantic, this weekend will see the third highest volume on record for Labor Day travel. About 728,000 Marylanders will be using the long weekend to get away. That represents a 1.2 percent increase over that year.
The highest number, according to AAA, came in 2008 with an estimated 855,000 travelers.
This also is the second year in a row that the estimates are above 700,000, and AAA says it continues a trend for more people traveling this year as Memorial Day travelers increased 1.7 percent and Independence Day travelers rose 1.6 percent.
"Marylanders' enthusiasm for travel appears to continue to remain undeterred by a sluggish economy and stagnant income growth, as evident by the strong volume of residents forecasted to get away for yet another summer holiday weekend," Ragina Cooper-Averella, Manager of Public and Government Affairs at AAA Mid-Atlantic wrote in a press release.
Of those traveling, 87 percent will be driving, an increase of 1.4 percent over last year, according to AAA. That means the roads to all the popular destination points will be more crowded, so the same advice we hear prior to any holiday travel weekend applies again this weekend. If possible, try to do your traveling at off-peak hours. But regardless of when you are hitting the road, be prepared for more congestion and delays, as well as an increase in the number of inattentive, aggressive or impaired drivers that may be sharing the road with you.
Also be prepared for increased patrols from law enforcement agencies, and if you are heading out to a weekend party that involves alcohol, make sure that you have a designated driver or another way to get home safely.
Long holiday weekends provide a good opportunity to get away from the daily grind, but if your plans include travel, it can also be stressful. Being prepared prior to heading out, taking your time getting to and from your destination and obeying the rules of the road can go a long way toward reducing that stress and helping to make for a pleasant trip.