Holiday Traffic

If travel plans for Memorial Day weekend is any indication, the forecast for the forthcoming summer travel season should also be "mostly sunny."

AAA Mid-Atlantic released its projections on Tuesday, May 22, 2018, just two days before the holiday weekend will begin in earnest.

"It looks like this year we're expecting to see about a five percent increase over last year's travel, which brings us up to about a four year high," shared Ken Grant, Manager of Public and Governmental Affairs for AAA Mid-Atlantic.

A solid economy, suggested Grant, was what produced both the spike in expected travelers and what they'll pay at the pumps.

"The gas prices are higher than they have been for several years--in Delaware, we're still hanging out in the $2.90 area--but that doesn't seem to be having an effect on this as cabin fever. People are just ready to get out and travel."

Of the more than 115,000 Delawareans who are projected to travel 50 miles or more between the dates of May 24 and May 28, nearly 103,000 residents will do so by road trip. That 4.9 percent increase over 2017 marks the fifth consecutive year for growth.

Another 9,700 travelers in Delaware will take to the skies for lengthier trips, too, prompting a 7.4 percent increase over last year.

Although motorists will pay the highest Memorial Day gas prices since 2014, which means a 22 percent increase over the course of the summer season, the modes of travel also remain mostly unaffected.

"The 2018 summer driving season could see the average family paying $1,318 for gasoline, $225 to $4250 more than 2017," Grant detailed. "Interestingly, AAA conducted a poll and what we found is that 40 percent of motorists say they'll start making some changes in their driving habits once the gas price hits three dollars a gallon. So it looks like people are waiting a little bit longer in Delaware before they start to make any adjustments."

Whether a motorist uses the holiday weekend for a road trip, or waits until later in the season, the auto club recommended that the vehicle should be as prepared as its own road assistance units.

"Last year, here in the Delaware area, we helped about 1,280 drivers--whether it was a battery issue, or a flat tire, or a tow. A little bit of prevention goes a long way. Check your tire pressure, check your treads, your battery, your windshield wiper blades--make sure your vehicle is ready for that fun trip."