AAA expects the number of travelers this Memorial Day weekend to be at the highest level since 2005. In light of this, it's important for you to keep safety on your mind if you are taking a trip over the holiday weekend.
AAA Memorial Day Travel Forecast
AAA, which defines the Memorial Day holiday travel period as Thursday, May 25 to Monday, May 29, expects some 39.3 million Americans to travel 50 miles or more away from home this holiday weekend. That's approximately one million more travelers than last year, netting the highest travel volume on Memorial Day weekend since 2005.
Here are some facts on all of the travelers who will be taking the roads, skies, rails and water.
- 2017 is expected to mark the third consecutive year of growth in travel volume. The 39.3 million American travelers is a 2.7% increase over last year.
- 88.1% of travelers say they will drive to their destinations this Memorial Day weekend.
- 2.9 million travelers are flying to their destination this Memorial Day. That's an increase of 5.5% over last year.
- 1.75 million Americans will travel via other modes of transportation. These include buses, trains, and cruises.
Based on travel bookings through AAA, these are the top 10 destinations for Americans this Memorial Day weekend: Orlando, Rome, London, Dublin, Vancouver, Seattle, Las Vegas, New York City, Paris, and Honolulu.
The Hard Truth
Memorial Day weekend is a time many people use to get away and relax on a long weekend. Unfortunately, the sheer number of travelers has some negative consequences.
A ValuePenguin study found Memorial Day weekend to be the deadliest major holiday weekend. Memorial Day weekend also led the way in accidents that included a drunk driver.
ValuePenguin, a personal finance website, analyzed National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) data between 2011 and 2015. Here is what they found:
- The Saturday, Sunday and Monday of Memorial Day weekend produces 312 fatal accidents per year, making it the deadliest major holiday weekend for fatal car crashes. It's followed by Labor Day weekend (308) and 4th of July weekend (307). Keep in mind these numbers aren't the total fatalities. ValuePenguin just counted accidents that involved at least one death.
- 40.3% of all accidents that happened on Memorial Day weekend in this time frame involved a drunk driver. This is the highest rate among all major holiday weekends.
So, if you are hitting the road this weekend, make sure to keep safety at the top of your list of priorities.
Tips for Safer Travel
Here are some tips you can use to help you and your passengers stay safe if you're taking a road trip this Memorial Day weekend.
- Follow the Rules of the Road - Start with the basics. Make sure to: wear your seatbelt, follow speed limits, be hyper aware of your surroundings, not tailgate, and never drink and drive. Also, if you're packing a lot of gear, make sure none of it blocks your rear window (or any other window for that matter). Don't compromise your visibility.
- Get Your Car Prepared - Before taking off, check your lights, turn signals, and wiper blades to make sure they are working. Check your fluids to ensure none are too low and get your oil changed if necessary. Also, check your tire pressure and adjust it accordingly. If your battery is close to three years old or older, you may want to have a mechanic test it.
- Plan Ahead - If you plan out your route and trip ahead of time, you can make it safer and successful. We suggest that you bring a paper map as a backup to your GPS. Also, there are several smartphone apps you can use to your advantage. For example, GasBuddy helps you find the cheapest gas prices wherever you are in the country. AAA's free mobile app also has a similar feature, plus you can use it to request roadside assistance and find hotels and restaurants.
Take your time, plan ahead, and be hyper aware to make sure you and your passengers stay safe.
The Bottom Line
Keep your Memorial Day weekend the fun and relaxing time it is supposed to be by making safety your top priority when traveling.
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