CINCINNATI, OH -- August 29, 2018 -- As the last official summer holiday kicks off this weekend, AAA is reminding travelers to celebrate safely and responsibly. AAA auto travel counselors expects thousands of Ohioans to hit the highways for one last vacation to popular destinations within a three-hour drive such as Put-In-Bay, Gatlinburg, and Hocking Hills.
“Historically, Labor Day is the least traveled holiday as the three-day weekend concludes when many travelers will be preparing children for school the following Tuesday,” says Jenifer Moore, AAA spokeswoman. “Thus, we are seeing many families making plans to stay closer to home or take one tank trips to make the most of the last days of summer.”
National Gas Price Average Holds Steady Ahead of Labor Day Weekend
Last year’s Labor Day weekend saw gas prices spike due to Hurricane Harvey. As it battered the Southeast, it shut down refineries and pipelines driving gas prices toward their highest point of 2017 ($2.67). Despite no hurricane activity this Labor Day weekend, gas prices will be at their highest point for the holiday since 2014.
The current national gas price average has held steady at $2.84, which is two-cents cheaper than a month ago, but 48-cents more than a year ago.
Motorists may see a small swing towards higher gas prices, but any jump should not last past the holiday weekend.
Celebrate Safely & Responsibly
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), Labor Day weekend is one of the deadliest times of year in terms of drunk-driving fatalities. During the 2016 Labor Day holiday period, 43% of nationwide crash fatalities involved drivers who had been drinking.
In Ohio, there were 3,070 crashes with 24 deaths (10 being alcohol-related) and 1,199 injuries in 2017 over the Labor Day holiday period, according to the Ohio Department of Public Safety. In addition, over the past 5 years (2013-2017), Ohio has averaged 195 days per year in which at least one traffic fatality involved alcohol.
“Safety should not take a backseat while celebrating,” continues Moore. “Driving while impaired is illegal and puts the driver, passengers and other road users at risk of serious injury or death.”
AAA to Rescue More Than 5,000 Motorists Locally over the Labor Day holiday
AAA expects to rescue more than 5,000 motorists in the tri-state area around the Labor Day holiday. Dead batteries, lockouts and flat tires will be the leading reasons AAA members will experience car trouble. AAA recommends motorists take their vehicle to a trusted repair facility to perform any needed maintenance before heading out. Oil changes, fluid level checks, battery tests and tire inspections go a long way toward reducing the chances of a breakdown.
AAA offers the following tips for those traveling this Labor Day weekend:
- Check gas prices: Continue checking AAA’s gas price site (https://gasprices.aaa.com/) for updated information on increases in departure and arrival states.
- Check your vehicle: Check tires, batteries and fluid levels.
- Buckle up. Have everyone in your vehicle wear their seat belts at all times.
- 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.
- Map your route: Plan ahead and map out your travel/seek an alternative route if needed (AAA travel counselors are assisting members at area AAA offices).
- Leave early in the morning to avoid heavier traffic volume.
- Don’t drive distracted: Stay focused and eliminate distractions such as cellphones.
- Move over: It is the law in all 50 states. Be mindful of construction and emergency workers on the roads.
- Fill up: Fill up the gas tank to avoid being stranded.
- Have an Emergency Road Kit: Every vehicle should be equipped with a well-stocked emergency kit that includes a mobile phone and car charger, a flashlight with extra batteries, a first-aid kit, a basic toolkit with tire pressure gauge and adjustable wrench, windshield washer solution, jumper cables and emergency flares or reflectors, drinking water, extra snacks and food for travelers and pets.
AAA provides automotive, travel and insurance services to 59 million members nationwide and more than three million members in Ohio. AAA advocates for the safety and mobility of its members and has been committed to outstanding road service for more than 100 years. AAA is a non-stock, non-profit corporation working on behalf of motorists, who can now map a route, find local gas prices, discover discounts, book a hotel and track their roadside assistance service with the AAA Mobile app for iPhone, iPad and Android. For more information, visit www.AAA.com.