MORGANTOWN, W.Va. —  A record number of Americans will take to the road for the Independence Day holiday this year, according to a report from the Mid-Atlantic Division of Triple A.

Spokesperson Tiffany Stanley said this holiday falls toward the end of the of the week, encouraging people to take the week before or after off to extend the holiday celebration.

“Our forecast actually includes two weekends,” Stanley said. “Historically, we only included one weekend of travel, but since this holiday falls on Thursday, we’re seeing that people are taking the entire week.”

The car is the preferred method of travel this year, but an estimated 6 million people will travel by air. The six million people traveling by air is an all-time record, breaking the previous record set in 2019.

“The majority of people are going to be traveling by car; that’s just over 60 million people,” Stanley said. “That’s an additional 2.8 million travelers on the road compared to last year.”

Gas prices are down slightly from last year, according to Stanley. But she said travelers are telling them gas prices are not the main consideration during this travel season.

“People are prioritizing travel, so no matter what that price is, they are still saying, “Hey, we still want to go on a vacation with our families, and they’re making room in their budget to do so.”

Stanley said timing your trip is also important to avoid the periods of the weekend expected to be the most congested. It will be important to consider the traffic patterns that will build leading up to Thursday.

“Wednesday is going to be the busiest day on the road, specifically between 2 p.m. and 7 p.m.” Stanley said. “That’s when the vacationers are going to be mixing with our commuters, so if you can be flexible, leave as early as possible in the day.”

Avoid troubles on the road that could result in increased travel time or being stranded by having a professional check your car out before you leave on the trip. She said the heat of summer can be harder on a car than the bitter cold winter temperatures, so that’s a good starting point for motorists to check.

“We are going to be rescuing hundreds of thousands of people on the roadside this week,” Stanley said. “So, it’s important to get your vehicle inspected before you head out on the road.”

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