CHARLOTTE, N.C. (DEC. 16, 2017)
– A record number of South Carolinians, a little over 1,407,940 will travel 50 miles or more for the Christmas/New Year's holiday, according to AAA Carolinas. The record number represents an increase of 1% from last year. The 12-day Christmas/New Year's travel holiday is defined as Wednesday, Dec. 23, through Sunday, Jan. 3.
"Although we have seen an increase in gas prices recently, Carolinians are still traveling in record numbers to celebrate the holidays and ring in the New Year with family and friends," said Dave Parsons, president and CEO of AAA Carolinas. "With so many people hitting the roads during this time, we want to stress the importance of buckling up, eliminating drinking and driving, and avoiding distractions behind the wheel."
Those driving to their destinations will encounter slightly higher gas prices than last year. South Carolina's current average is $2.03, while last year's average was $1.78. Prices have been rising the past two weeks following the OPEC oil production agreement on November 30.
South Carolina motorists will find the cheapest gas in the Greenville, Spartanburg, and Anderson areas with gas around $2.01. The most expensive gas in the Palmetto state is in Charleston at $2.09. For those traveling through North Carolina the average price of gas is $2.18.
With the excitement of holiday parties and celebrations, too many drivers are taking to the roadways after drinking. The decision to drive after even one drink can have deadly consequences. AAA advises drivers to assign a designated driver or use a car service if they are planning to consume alcohol.
As the longest holiday travel period of the year, it is also one of the deadliest. Last year, 17 people died on South Carolina roads during the year-end holiday travel period. A total of 1,626 collisions occurred during this time period as well.
The South Carolina Department of Public Safety kicked off their
Sober or Slammer
campaign on December 13 that will run through New Year's. The goal of the campaign is to lower the number of alcohol-related crashes and fatalities and increase compliance with the state's DUI laws.
AAA offers a few simple holiday road survival tips for motorists:
- Map your route in advance and be prepared for busy roads. If possible, consider leaving earlier or later to avoid heavy traffic
- Keep valuables in the trunk or covered storage area
- Have your roadside assistance contact information on hand in case an incident occurs on the road
- Keep a cell phone and charger with you at all times, in case of emergency.
- Obey traffic safety laws: Wear your seatbelt. Don't speed. Don't drink and drive. Eliminate distractions behind the wheel, such mobile devices. Disconnect and Drive!
To estimate fuel costs, travelers can go to www.fuelcostcalculator.com to input starting city, destination, and the make and model of their car.
The free AAA Mobile app for iPhone and Android devices uses GPS navigation to help travelers map a route, find updated gas prices, view nearby member discounts and access AAA Roadside Assistance.
AAA Carolinas, an affiliate of the American Automobile Association, is a not-for-profit organization that serves more than 2 million members and the public with travel, automobile and insurance services while being an advocate for the safety and security of all travelers.
Connect with AAA Carolinas on Facebook at www.facebook.com/AAAcarolinas and follow us on Twitter at @AAAcarolinas.