AAA: More than 347,000 Delaware residents to travel for holidays

WILMINGTON — More than 347,000 Delawareans are projected to travel for the year-end holiday season, according to AAA predictions. Nationwide, slightly more than 103 million Americans — the most on record — will travel, representing a 1.5 percent increase, or 1.5 million more people traveling, compared with last year.

The year-end holiday travel period is defined as Friday, Dec. 23 to Monday, Jan. 2, 2017.

In Delaware, 91.3 percent of people were projected to travel by car compared to 5.4 percent via air travel. Nationally, 91 percent were to use motor vehicle transportation compared to 6 percent flying.

“Tis the season for holiday travel, and this year more Americans as well as Delawareans will travel to celebrate the holidays and ring in the New Year than ever before,” said Ken Grant, manager of Public and Government Affairs for AAA Mid-Atlantic. “The travel increase is a result of improvements in the labor market and rising wages. Lower gas prices and increased consumer optimism are also prompting more Americans than ever to set out to celebrate the holidays.”

The vast majority of American travelers — 93.6 million people—will take a holiday road trip, an increase of 1.5 percent over last year. In the five-county region, just over a million people will take to the roads. Nationally, air travel is expected to increase by 2.5 percent, with more than 6 million Americans flying to their holiday destinations while in Delaware, close to 19,000 people will fly, a healthy increase of 3 percent.

During the 11-day holiday travel period, AAA officials said the service expects to rescue more than 980,000 motorists with the primary reasons being dead batteries, flat tires and lockouts. During the same holiday travel period last year, AAA Mid-Atlantic rescued more than 2,100 Delaware motorists.

For motorists who may encounter winter weather conditions during their holiday road trips, AAA recommends:

• Check windshield wipers and inspect tires to ensure safe drivability before setting out.

• Pack an emergency kit containing a snow shovel, flashlight, ice scraper, jumper cables, warning devices and extra warm clothing for everyone riding in the vehicle.

• When driving, slow down and do not tailgate.

• Leave following distances to a minimum of five to six seconds to allow additional braking room should a sudden stop become necessary.

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