AAA Predicts More New Jerseyans Will Travel For July 4th Holiday

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HAMILTON – AAA Mid-Atlantic projects that approximately 1.3 million New Jersey residents will travel 50 miles or more from home during the upcoming July 4th holiday weekend, an increase of 4 percent compared to those who traveled for Independence Day 2011.

Since July 4 falls on a Wednesday, the calendar will play a role in driving holiday travel volume as the mid-week holiday expands the traditional five-day travel period to six days and provides the option of including a weekend and two week days on either side of the actual holiday. When asked about day of departure, 54 percent of people intending to travel this holiday plan to begin their trip prior to the start of the work-week that includes July 4. Response percentages by trip departure day are:

  • 25% – Friday, June 29
  • 16% – Saturday, June 30
  • 13% – Sunday, July 1
  • 11% – Monday, July 2
  • 19% – Tuesday, July 3
  • 16% – Wednesday, July 4

Travel by Mode of Transportation:

Automobile

  • New Jersey – 1,075,609 (84% of travelers), an increase of 3.2% from last year
  • Nationally – 35.5 million (84% of travelers), up 4% from 2011

Air

  • New Jersey – 93,470 (7% of travelers), an increase of 8.9% from those who flew in 2011
  • Nationally – 3.2 million (8% of travelers), an increase of 9% from last Fourth of July

Train, Bus, Watercraft or Other Mode

  • New Jersey – 112,409 (9% of travelers), an increase of 9.1% from 2011
  • Nationally – 3.6 million (8% of travelers), up 10% from last year.

“AAA’s projection for a high number of Independence Day travelers is being fed by Americans’ appetite for travel and lower gas prices, Tracy E. Noble, spokesperson for AAA Mid-Atlantic said. “Auto travel continues to be the predominant mode of transportation and falling gas prices are a welcome sight to the 1.1 million New Jersey residents who are taking to the roads.”

Motorists will find the average price of gasoline at $3.30 per gallon in New Jersey, $3.63 in New York, $3.36 in Pennsylvania, and $3.35 in Delaware.

New Jersey Gas Prices on July 4th for the past 5 years:

  • $3.56 in 2011
  • $2.60 in 2010
  • $2.52 in 2009
  • $3.99 in 2008
  • $2.81 in 2007

AAA reminds motorists that the Fourth of July holiday is a busy time for emergency roadside services calls. As temperatures rise, vehicles are put to the test. Without preventive maintenance the summer heat increases the likelihood of a motorist experiencing a vehicle failure, leaving them unexpectedly – and dangerously – stranded on the side of the road.

AAA suggests going over the following checklist before starting out on a road trip this summer:

  • Check the battery. Batteries more than two years old should be tested by a qualified technician to ensure they have the starting power to handle the stress of extreme temperatures.
  • Check oil level and condition. Driving under extreme conditions, such as over mountains or towing a heavy trailer? Switch to a motor oil with higher viscosity. Check the owner’s manual for specific oil recommendations.
  • Check air conditioning system performance. If needed, have it serviced by a qualified technician. Do not use non-approved substitute refrigerants. Check the owner’s manual for approved types.
  • Inspect antifreeze/coolant level and condition. Ensure the proper 50/50 mixture of water and coolant is present.

Other under-the-hood components such as belts and hoses also are stressed by extreme heat and should be regularly inspected. Be sure the vehicle engine is turned off before inspecting these items. If your car overheats, never attempt to remove the radiator cap until the engine has cooled. Coolant in the radiator is under pressure and can flash into steam, causing severe burns.

If motorist are not comfortable performing this inspection, a qualified auto service facility, such as those recognized by AAA’s Approved Auto Repair Program, can conduct a thorough examination.

Finally, because temperatures inside parked cars can quickly reach dangerous levels, AAA Mid-Atlantic offers the following additional advice:

  • Never leave children or animals unattended in a car—not even for a short period of time. Outside air temperatures in the nineties can rise to 125 degrees inside the vehicle within 20 minutes causing brain damage or death.
  • When parked, use a sun shield to cover the windshield to minimize heat buildup and to help protect the car’s interior. Cover metal and plastic parts on seat belts and child safety seats to prevent burns.
  • Open the vehicle’s doors and let the interior cool for a few minutes before entering.

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