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4th of July: Let's be careful out there

The Fourth of July this year falls on a Wednesday. That is both good and bad news for holiday travelers. The good news is that it spreads the holiday traffic over more days of the week and potentially decreases traffic jams. The bad news is that those without paid vacation days will have one day off in the middle of the week with work days on either side.

AAA has released some likely traffic numbers which are good reminders that we can use to reduce the likelihood of motor vehicle accidents in Massachusetts and elsewhere around the country.

According to reliable sources, the Fourth of July travel is expected to hit record numbers for a few reasons. One reason is that gas prices are lower than they were at this same time last year. A second reason is the mid-week placement of the holiday in which a family could take four vacation days and end up with a 10-day vacation. Yet another reason could be the spread of the travel days over a one-week period could make the holiday travel less prone to traffic jams.

Another unreported reason may be the weather. Record-breaking highs may result in some people heading to the beach to cool off, or at least to travel to where power outages are not impacting the air conditioning.

AAA reports that about 88 percent of our nation's drivers will be on the road this holiday week. The travel breakdown for departure times looks like this:

  • June 29: 25 percent
  • June 30: 16 percent
  • July 1: 13 percent
  • July 2: 11 percent
  • July 3: 19 percent
  • July 4: 16 percent

With the additional traffic on the road, holiday travelers should be vigilant to protect against a motor vehicle accident. In many locales, drunk driving patrols will also be out in full force.

Let's be careful out there.

Source: The Birmingham News, "Driver's Side: July 4 week travel expected to hit record numbers," Ginny MacDonald, July 2, 2012

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