Expect packed freeways on Southern California’s third busiest Fourth of July weekend
This Fourth of July weekend is projected to be the third busiest Independence Day weekend for travelers in Southern California.
An estimated 3.3 million people will be traveling, according to the American Automobile Association. Of them, 2.7 million are expected to be in their cars, packing freeways on the holiday weekend that started Thursday and extends to Monday.
“The busiest days on the road this weekend are Thursday and Friday, especially in the afternoon hours between 2 p.m. and 9 p.m.,” Doug Shupe, corporate communications manager for AAA of Southern California, told the News-Press.
“We aren’t expecting that it will deter most people from automobile travel. It is 0.2% higher this Fourth of July than last year,” Mr. Shupe said Friday. “Overall, travel volume is 3.7% higher than last year, for a trip 50 miles or more from home. This past Memorial Day was 5% higher than last year for automobile travel.”
Mr. Shupe spoke to how the ever-rising gas prices will affect holiday travel.
“There is no doubt that the increase has led to adjustments in travel for shorter distances, shorter trips, packing food or staying with family rather than hotels,” he said. “People are prioritizing budgets for travel.
“For most people, it (the gas price) is not deterring travelers. People are more willing to make adjustments to their daily routine — carpooling, biking, walking and taking public transit etc. People want to enjoy and connect with friends and family.”
Meanwhile, the national average for gas prices continues to decline, said Patrick De Haan, head of petroleum analysis for GasBuddy.
“We could see it hit $4.79 on the Fourth. Safe travels for those heading out!” Mr. De Haan tweeted.
California remains above the national average, but is seeing a gradual decrease in prices. On Friday, the American Automobile Association reported the state’s average was $6.27 a gallon. In Santa Barbara County, the average was $6.26 a gallon.
“For many this (the holiday weekend) will be the first time taking a long road trip since the pandemic,” said Mr. Shupe.
Before going on long drives this weekend, AAA recommends motorists inspect their vehicles.
“Between Thursday and Monday the auto club anticipates coming to the rescue of 65,000 motorists in Southern California alone and 446,000 nationwide,” Mr. Shupe said. “The greatest number of calls will be for dead batteries, flat tires and getting locked out of vehicles.
“Inspect your vehicles: Check tire tread and inflation, make sure the battery is fully charged, and top off your fluid levels,” he said. “Don’t forget about safety with extra traffic on roadways.
“Get at least seven hours of sleep before a long road trip. Make sure everyone is buckled,” he said.
“Don’t drive intoxicated or don’t drive ‘intexticated,’ ” Mr. Shupe said, referring to the distraction of texting, which is illegal during driving.
The top destinations this holiday weekend for Southern California residents are: Las Vegas, San Diego, Grand Canyon, Mexico and Yosemite.
Top destinations across the U.S. include Seattle, Orlando, New York, Anaheim, Anchorage, Ft. Lauderdale, Las Vegas, Honolulu, Denver and Chicago.