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2021 Fourth of July travel expected to be second-highest on record

Published: Jun. 28, 2021 at 10:20 AM EDT
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MYRTLE BEACH, S.C. (WMBF) - For those planning to hit the road over the Fourth of July holiday weekend, they should expect to see a lot more traffic than usual.

AAA expects 47 million people to travel over the weekend, making this year’s Independence Day travel volume the second-highest on record.

In 2019, AAA reported 49 million Americans would hit the road for the Fourth of July. Across the Carolinas, 688,500 South Carolinians are predicted to take a trip, and nearly 1.4 million in North Carolina.

Despite having the highest gas prices seen in seven years, AAA reports more than 91% of people will drive.

Scott Nelson, a service manager at C&G Auto, said there are a couple of things people should do to make sure their family gets to and from their destination safely.

First, have a certified mechanic inspect the car before heading out. This includes more than just oil changes.

“Preventative maintenance is incredibly important, especially when you go on long trips,” Nelson said. “We want to make sure all of our belts, hoses, our tires are all ready to go so we don’t have surprises.

Driving during the summer also means a more likely chance for a car to overheat. Nelson said if the engine light comes on, pull over safely as soon as possible and call for help.

“If you overheat the engine on a lot of these newer engines that are all aluminum, you can do a lot of very serious internal damage, which may cause you to have to buy a new engine. So you want to stop the car, have it towed to a facility and have it checked by a certified mechanic,” Nelson said.

AAA also predicts more traffic congestion than usual this year.

“With travelers eager to hit the road this summer, we’re expecting nationwide traffic volumes to increase about 15% over normal this holiday weekend. Drivers around major metro areas must be prepared for significantly more delay,” Bob Pishue, transportation analyst for INRIX, said in a press release.

Most importantly, drivers are advised to make sure they allow themselves plenty of time to get to and from their destinations safely.

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