Despite rising gas prices, more people will be taking to the highways for the Memorial Day holiday weekend across Kansas and the nation. In fact, AAA forecasts the highest number of travelers since 2005 taking to not only the roads, but also the skies as well as other forms of transportation such as cruise ships, buses and trains.
“The vast majority of this year’s Memorial Day journeys – nearly 9 in 10 nationally – will be road trips on our highways, so we’re reminding people to make sure their vehicles are ready,” said Shawn Steward, AAA Kansas spokesman. “Some simple yet important car maintenance, especially with batteries, important engine systems, and tires, can prevent you from being stranded during your road trip.”
AAA Kansas provides this snapshot – by the numbers – of some of AAA’s key travel forecast projections and latest gas prices, and offers car maintenance tips and road trip recommendations for the Memorial Day weekend travel period:
41.5 million – The number of Americans nationwide who will journey away from home this Memorial Day travel weekend, a nearly 5 percent increase over last year and the most in more than a dozen years
3.5 million – Number of people in the West North Central Region (in which Kansas is included, along with Iowa, Minnesota, Missouri, North Dakota, Nebraska and South Dakota) who will take Memorial Day weekend trips, a 4.4 percent increase over 2017 and the largest number of travelers since 2005 for Memorial Day weekend.
1,600+ – Number of motorists that AAA Kansas Roadside Assistance expects to rescue during the Memorial Day travel period (Thursday, May 24 through Tuesday, May 29)
340,000+ – Number of motorists nationwide that AAA expects to rescue with roadside assistance this Memorial Day weekend, with the primary reasons being battery-related issues, flat tires and lockouts.
88 – Percent of all travelers nationally – 36.6 million – who are planning a driving road trip this Memorial Day weekend, an increase of 4.7 percent over last year.
24 & 25 – May 2018 dates when drivers can expect the greatest amount of traffic congestion, especially in larger metro areas and between 3 p.m. and 6 p.m. and, when commuters leave work early and mix with holiday travelers.
3.1 million – Number of travelers nationwide who will fly to their Memorial Day destination. With a 6.8 percent increase over last year, air travel is the mode of travel that will see the largest growth this year
$168 – Average price for a round-trip flight for the top 40 domestic routes According to AAA’s Leisure Travel Index – a 7 percent fare drop from the 2017 Memorial Day travel period.
5 – Top 5 destinations for the Memorial Day 2018 weekend, according to AAA.com travel bookings: Orlando; Seattle; Honolulu; Las Vegas; Anchorage, Alaska
11 – Percent decrease in daily car rental price from this time in 2017. Travelers can expect to spend $59/day, the lowest rate for the Memorial Day weekend in the past four years.
2014 – Last year that drivers faced Memorial Day gas prices as high as this year.
$2.93 – National gas price average as of 5/21/18, 17 cents more than one month ago and 57 cents more than a year ago.
$2.71 – Average Kansas price for a gallon of gas as of 5/21/18.
8 – Kansas’ rank of states with the largest gas price increase in the past month. Kansas’ average per-gallon price has risen 22 cents in the past month.
$2.16 – Average gas price in Kansas one year ago (5/21/17)
9 – Kansas’ rank of states with the lowest gas prices in America as of 5/21/18.
$2.94 – Average gas price in Howard, Kan. (Elk County), the highest in the state as of 5/21/18.
66429 – ZIP code of Grantville, Kan. (Jefferson County), which boasts Kansas’ lowest average gas price this week at $2.54/gallon.
WAYS TO SAVE MONEY ON GAS
Facing costlier fill-ups at the pumps, there are things motorists can do to increase gas mileage and save money on Memorial Day road trips, AAA Kansas’ Steward said:
- Accelerate gradually. Avoid jackrabbit starts.
- Stick to the speed limit
- Make sure tires are properly inflated. Check the sticker inside the driver’s door or the vehicle owner’s manual for recommended tire air pressure.
- Replace the vehicle’s air filter
VEHICLE MAINTENANCE AND EMERGENCY KIT TIPS
Dead batteries, lockouts and flat tires will be the leading reasons motorists will experience car trouble this holiday weekend, AAA Kansas said.
Before hitting the road, make sure your vehicle is road-trip ready. Make a good B-E-T to stay on the road this summer by having your Battery tested, looking for Engine coolant leaks and checking Tire condition.
Also make sure windshield wipers, belts and hoses, and lights (headlights, tail lights, turn signals) are in good condition and working properly. Also, keep plenty of gas in your tank to avoid being stranded by running out.
“It’s also a good idea to be prepared by keeping an emergency kit in your vehicle,” said Steward of AAA Kansas. “It should contain items including mobile phone and car charger, jumper cables, a flashlight with extra batteries, road flares or reflective triangle, first-aid kit, basic toolkit, extra medications, and drinking water and snacks for all passengers, including your traveling pets.”
10 AAA ROAD TRIP TIPS
AAA Kansas also recommends these 10 tips for making Memorial Day road trips safer and more hassle-free:
- With busier roads during the holiday weekend, obey posted speed limits. Speed limits are based on safe driving in optimal conditions. Slow down if weather conditions or traffic congestion warrant it.
- Leave plenty of space between your vehicle and the one in front of you. Be extra vigilant and leave extra space for motorcycles.
- Have everyone in your vehicle wear their seat belts at all times.
- Avoid distractions while driving. Don’t use your cell phone while you’re behind the wheel. If needed, let a passenger respond to a message or look something up on your phone.
- Observe the Move Over Law when law enforcement or emergency vehicles are on the side of the road. Change lanes or slow down to give sufficient clearance. This is the law in all 50 states.
- If faced with a vehicle emergency, safely steer your car off the roadway. Turn on the emergency flashers to alert other drivers and exit the vehicle on the side facing away from traffic if possible. Once everyone is in a safe location, request assistance from a road service provider.
- Never drink and drive, and remember, buzzed driving is drunk driving. Plan ahead and have a designated driver or organize a ride if you’ll be consuming alcohol.
- For help in planning your road trip, for discounts with many travel partners such as hotels and Hertz rental cars, and for the peace-of-mind provided by AAA emergency roadside assistance should a breakdown occur, making sure your membership is active or joining AAA is important and as simple as going to www.AAA.com.
- Find daily gas price updates for every state in America and key metro areas using AAA’s Fuel Gauge Report at GasPrices.AAA.com or via the AAA mobile app.
- Pack your patience, have a safe trip and enjoy the kickoff to summer.