Delaware Public Media

AAA predicts a record volume of holiday road traffic

Dec 15, 2015

AAA Mid-Atlantic officials expect a record volume of year-end holiday traffic over the next couple weeks.

According to their estimates, nearly 278,000 Delawareans will travel 50 miles or more between Christmas Eve and New Year’s Day. 91 percent of those people will choose to drive to their destination. That’s a 1.3 percent increase in motorists over this time last year.

AAA Mid-Atlantic director of public and governmental affairs Jim Lardear said it’s likely that road traffic will be higher this year because low gas prices are allowing people to spend more on vacations.

“And we believe that’s helping to fill people’s stockings this year and people are choosing to spend that money taking a trip," said Lardear.

Officials expect that gas prices around New Year’s will be the lowest in seven years.

Lardear adds that those planning to hit the road should make sure to check their tires, batteries and other car maintenance needs to avoid having to be rescued. And travelers should keep in mind that other places may not be having the unseasonably warm December weather Delaware is seeing.

“One of the things to remember - although I believe it’s about 60 degrees now in Delaware - depending on where you’re traveling, it could be a lot colder and there could be snow. So you got to understand what’s going on at your destination and plan accordingly," said Lardear.

Last year, AAA rescued about 2,200 motorists in Delaware, and a total of 63,000 in the Mid-Atlantic region. They predict that they will make about the same number of rescues this year.

Nationwide, AAA officials estimate a total of 100 million will travel 50 miles or more from home.