TAMPA, FL — AAA projects a 5.4 percent increase in the number of Americans traveling this Memorial Day weekend from 2009. This means more than 32.1 million Americans are expected to travel later this month versus the 30.5 million Americans who actually traveled last year. However, travel in the Southeast is only expected to increase by 0.2 percent.
Florida and Georgia are projected to see a decline in travel by 4.8 percent and 0.2 percent. Tennessee's travel forecast is expected to show an increase of 5.4 percent from last year. However, the survey was conducted before the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico and the Nashville floods, so the impact of those events on travel is not known.
Memorial Day weekend is an auto-heavy travel holiday with more than 87 percent of travelers or 28 million planning to travel via automobile versus the 26.4 million from last year. Air travel is also expected to increase by 2.4 percent from last year.
"The last two years have left consumers with a pent-up demand to travel, so we aren't surprised to see overall travel numbers increase this coming Memorial Day weekend," said Jessica Brady, manager, AAA Public Relations. "Although travel in the Southeast is expected to decline, there will still be millions of motorists on the roadways and passengers at the airports, so safety and patience are of the essence."
Tips to Ensure a Safe Memorial Day Weekend:
- Drive sensibly and safely. Aggressive driving, speeding, and rapid acceleration waste gas and can lower gas mileage by 33 percent at highway speeds and by 5 percent in city limits. Sensible driving not only saves gas, but is safer for yourself and those around you.
- Get your vehicle serviced. Have your vehicle inspected and the oil changed before leaving. Keeping tires inflated, moving components properly lubricated and ignition and emission systems operating properly will help ensure maximum fuel efficiency and extend the life of your vehicle.
- Avoid constant braking. Minimize the need to brake by anticipating traffic conditions. Be alert for slowdowns and red lights ahead of you, and decelerate by coasting whenever possible.
- Put down the cell phone. Whether you are talking or texting, using a cell phone while driving endangers not only yourself, but those around you since your full attention is not on the road.
- If you breakdown, pull off to the right side of the road onto the shoulder where you are not in danger of getting struck by oncoming traffic.
- If you are using a GPS system, program it before traveling so you are not distracted by it while driving.
- Remember the 3-1-1 rules on liquids, aerosols and gels (3 ounces or less; 1 quart bag; 1 per passenger).
- Bring all necessary medications with you in your carry-on bag, so you have them at all times.
- Have boarding passes and official government-issued ID out for inspection.
AAA Auto Club South, founded as the Tampa Motor Club in 1938, is now the third largest affiliate of AAA, with 78 branch offices serving 4.1 million members in Florida, Georgia, West and Middle Tennessee, and Puerto Rico. AAA Auto Club is committed to traffic safety and transportation advocacy and works to protect and advance freedom of mobility and improve travel safety.