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Fourth Of July Weekend Travel Expected To Break Records

A picture of a highway traffic jam.
Simon Forsyth

AAA Carolinas predicts another record-breaking weekend of holiday travel, as more than 1.2 million North Carolinians are expected to travel fifty miles or more during Independence Day weekend.

"That's the highest mark that we've seen since we've been doing these surveys since 2001," said spokeswoman Tiffany Wright. "And of that number, more than 90 percent of those are going to be doing so with a road trip, so there's going to be lot of motorists on the road."

Travel by air, bus, rail and cruise ship is also projected to increase over the July Fourth holiday.

Low gas prices are driving the surge, said Wright. North Carolina drivers will pay the lowest gas prices they've seen in more than a decade, with the average price per gallon at $2.18 across the state.

"On average you're saving anywhere from 46 to 50 cents per gallon [compared to] this time last year, so that results in some money in folks’ wallets," said Wright.

But with so many drivers expected on North Carolina roads this holiday weekend, officials are reminding motorists to slow down, stay alert, and put mobile devices away.

"We're seeing right now so many collisions that are being caused by distracted driving," said Wright. "What we like to say is when you get in the car, disconnect and drive. Put down those mobile devices. Do the one thing you were meant to do behind the wheel and that's stay focused and drive."

The State Highway Patrol will be targeting speeders and aggressive drivers Thursday through Monday. Last year, the Highway Patrol responded to nearly 300 collisions over the Fourth of July holiday, including twelve fatal wrecks.

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