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Memorial Day travel to hit record high, officials warn

Memorial Day travel to hit record high, officials warn

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SALT LAKE CITY — Prepare for a packed Memorial Day weekend — a new AAA survey says more than 2.8 million Mountain West residents will travel by car 50 miles or more to open the deadly summer travel season.

The projected number is up 5.7 percent from last year and is expected to be the highest number of travelers for Memorial Day weekend since 2005, according to AAA’s holiday forecast.

“A stronger economy and overall lower gas prices have boosted consumers’ disposable income,” AAA Utah spokesman Rolayne Fairclough said in a press release. “This summer travel season is starting off with great potential as many Mountain West residents are eager to take that long overdue weekend getaway.”

Summer driving tips
  • Buckle up. Every trip. Every time. Wearing a seatbelt is also the best defense against a drunk-driving related crash
  • Don't drive after drinking Every 51 minutes, someone in the United States dies in an alcohol-impaired-driving crash. Don't drink and drive. If you plan to drink, choose a sober designated driver before going out.
  • Check your tire's air pressure, tread wear, and spare. – Proper tire maintenance is especially important if traveling by 15-passenger van.
  • Keep kids safe in and around your vehicle. Make sure car seats and booster seats are properly installed. There are other dangers to children in and around cars, like hyperthermia, or heat stroke, from being left unattended in a hot vehicle. Don't leave children alone in a car.

    Source: nhtsa.gov

  • More than 37 million people around the nation will drive somewhere for the holiday weekend, AAA estimates, a 4.7 increase from 2014. Over 234,000 Mountain West residents will fly to their destinations. To avoid air delays, AAA recommends flying in the morning, booking a nonstop flight and using small airports.

    The 100 deadliest days of summer begin Memorial Day weekend and last through Labor Day weekend. Utah Department of Transportation spokesman John Gleason said there is usually a 35 percent increase in traffic deaths in Utah.

    There were 96 deaths on Utah roads last summer, and police said alcohol was involved in a lot of them.

    UDOT recommends leaving for your destination by 3 p.m and to keep safe on the road by slowing down and not driving aggressively.

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    Tracie Snowder

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