Record number of Ohioans planning to travel this Independence Day

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COLUMBUS, Ohio - AAA is expecting 48.9 million Americans to travel at least 50 miles from home over the July 4 holiday weekend.

Specifically, 2.1 million Ohioans will hit the roads for the holiday. This is an increase of about 4.7% from last year.

Strong economic fundamentals continue to help boost travel numbers. Low unemployment, rising disposable incomes and robust consumer spending are all encouraging more consumers to invest in their hard-earned money in travel this summer.

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“As Independence Day approaches, it’s time for the much loved family road trip and this year will be one for the record books, with more Americans than ever planning vacations,” said Paula Twidale, vice president, AAA Travel. “This holiday builds on the strong travel demand season for Memorial Day, and with schools now out of session across the country, families coast to coast are eager to travel.”

A record 1.9 million Ohioans will drive to their destinations this Independence Day. With nearly 88,000 more Ohioans on the road this holiday, travelers can expect added congestion. INRIX, in collaboration with AAA, expects the heaviest traffic Wednesday afternoon, July 3, as commuters leave work early and mix with holiday travelers.

“With record-level travelers hitting the road this holiday, drivers must be prepared for delays around our major metros,” said Trevor Reed, transportation analyst at INRIX.

Motorists may also run into construction delays during their Independence Day road trips. ODOT is working on more than 1,000 construction projects across the state this year. Work zones require extra attention from drivers. Efforts have been made to reduce the size of work zones as much as possible to accommodate the increased holiday traffic. However, it isn’t possible to remove all the orange barrels.

During the holiday weekend, Ohio State Highway Patrol troopers will also be highly visible and urging motorists to drive carefully and follow all traffic laws. As part of the national Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over enforcement campaign, the Patrol’s primary focus will be removing impaired drivers from the roadways. Last year in Ohio, four fatal crashes killed eight people during the July Fourth holiday weekend. Of those fatalities, one crash and three fatalities were OVI related.

With an increased number of motorists on the roadways, vehicle breakdowns are also likely. AAA expects to assist more than 367,000 motorists, including nearly 15,000 in Ohio, with dead batteries, flat tires, lockouts and more. To avoid a breakdown this holiday, motorists should ensure their car is road trip ready by taking it to a trusted repair facility for routine maintenance.

Drivers can prepare for emergencies by packing an emergency road kit, including a mobile phone charger, flashlight, first-aid kit, basic toolkit, and drinking water and snacks for all passengers.