AAA predicts highest number of travelers since the recession for Memorial Day Weekend

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It looks like Americans are trying to beat the winter blues. AAA is predicting the highest number of travelers for the Memorial Day weekend, since the recession.

“The harsh winter has a lot to do with, the economy is getting better, and we are expecting the gas prices to be coming down slightly even up to this weekend. We feel that people are really ready to get out and get away,” said Dorie Weik with AAA Central Penn.

“The long, unusually rough winter that just ended, coupled with a slow but steady economic recovery and gas prices about the same as last year, will contribute to a 1.5% increase over last year in Memorial Day travel, said Marshall Doney, AAA’s Chief Operating Officer. AAA expects 36.1 million people to travel at least 50 miles from home.”

According to AAA, of those traveling for Memorial Day, 31.8 million will go by automobile, 2.6 million will fly, and 1.7 million will go by train, bus or boat.

“We have people who have cabin fever, and are tired of the very long winter and are very anxious to get out and get traveling,” said Weik.

As for the Pennsylvania Turnpike, this is one of the busiest traveled holidays. “The Memorial Day holiday weekend is usually the busiest holiday weekend for us besides, Thanksgiving. We see about two million vehicles over the four-day holiday,” said Renee Colborn with the Pennsylvania Turnpike. “It’s the kick-off to summer, and vacation season, and everybody is heading toward a beach or family destinations.”

To account for the high volume of cars drivers can expect some changes. “Our maintenance department has suspended it’s operations to make sure all lanes of travel are open,” said Colborn, who also had a friendly reminder for drivers. “With this many cars on the highway we really need to stress to drivers to keep their eyes on the road and hands on the wheel.”

“Drivers need to pay attention and obey the speed limits, especially in work zones. With so many people traveling this holiday weekend, it’s more important than ever to travel at a safe speed, don’t tailgate and definitely don’t text and drive,” says Capt. Gregory M. Bacher of the Pennsylvania State Police Troop T, the troop in charge of Turnpike patrols.

One other note: the Peter J. Camiel Service Plaza in Chester County located westbound at milepost 305, reopened Thursday.

For more information on the Pa Turnpike click here.

For more information on AAA travel predictions click here.

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