Tis the season to travel.
This holiday season it seems many people will be on the road to visit relatives. Almost all the trips will involve a vehicle of some kind, even if it's just to get to the airport to catch a flight.
AAA says that across the state and country some 65 million Americans will travel at least 50 miles or more during the holiday, more than last year despite higher gasoline cost. Some 16 million of these travelers will start their trip in the west. Many will travel on Highway 260 or 87.
A travel survey by AAA says that the biggest chunk of those heading out for the holidays will be leaving today, Friday, Dec. 21. The second busiest travel day of the holiday season was Dec. 19. Some of these travelers will come back right after Christmas, others next weekend. Whatever day it is, expect heavy traffic.
"The roadways and airports will stay busy across the upcoming holidays as Arizonans visit family, friends and enjoy their winter vacations," said Linda Gorman, public affairs manager for AAA Arizona.
"With more people planning to drive than fly, it is important for motorists to make sure their vehicle is prepared for their upcoming trek. Last year, our emergency roadside service responded to nearly 8,500 stranded motorists in the state between Christmas Eve and New Year's Day. We strongly encourage motorists to pack an emergency car care kit and to get a pre-trip check-up before heading out of town, if possible."
With the predicted snow and rain, depending on where you are traveling in Arizona, drivers will need to be extra cautious when out on the state's highways.
More and more people will be in hurry to get to Mom and Dad's or Grandma's house to enjoy the holiday. That means you must drive defensively.
We have far too many accidents on Highways 260 and 87 during normal weekends. Add in the extra travel for this Christmas to New Year's holiday period, with some rain or snow on the roads and the potential for serious, if not deadly accidents increases.
So stay true to the holiday spirit this Christmas.
Give other drivers lots of room, don't get mad or frustrated causing you to do something stupid. Slow down, it is better to arrive at your destination a bit later than planned, than not at all. If you are drinking some of the eggnog, don't drive.
Have a safe trip this weekend.