Independence Day falls on a Tuesday this year. Normally, a midweek Holiday means fewer than an average number of cars on the highways. That’s not the case this year, according to projections made by Motor Trend and reported by National Public Radio. A perfect storm of low gas prices, good weather, and a working public who thought ahead will make for record traffic on U.S. highways. The heavy crush will begin as early as Friday, June 30.
Per Gas Buddy, fuel prices have fallen to an average of $2.21 a gallon nationwide. These prices include numbers as low as $1.77 in some parts of the country. As a result, families are skipping the TSA pat down at the airport, opting instead for the open road. While airports will be busy, air traffic will be lighter than usual for the Independence Day rush. Expect lighter than normal airport lines across the northern tier of the country. Chicago’s O’Hare International will be an exception.
After a cold and wet winter, followed by cloudy days this Spring, the skies will clear almost everywhere by Monday and Tuesday. Weather throughout the land of the free and home of the brave is expected to be sunny and mild for that big family barbecue. (Gildshire Magazines likes ribs with a sweet and spicy glaze and potato salad.)
The main reason for the heavy traffic this Independence Day, though, is forethought by the working stiff. Millions of employees have chosen Monday, July 3 as a vacation day, thereby turning a midweek holiday into a 4+ day mini vacation.
The heavier than normal traffic over the weekend brings about the usual warnings and admonitions. Motorcyclists should be particularly aware of their surroundings, and motorists should be extra alert for bikes. Distracted driving, never a good idea, is particularly contraindicated when traffic is at its heaviest. Expect drunk driver patrols by State and County law enforcement. In other words, don’t text and drive or drink and drive.
Whether your drive is long or short have a safe and happy weekend. The life you save is the most important life in the world to someone else.