CHARLOTTE (DEC. 18, 2012) – More than 1.17 million South Carolinians will hit the roads this travel holiday – one of the deadliest of the year, according to AAA Carolinas.
In 2010-2011 (the last year that data was available), 68 people died on South Carolina roads during the year-end holiday travel period. This averages to 6.2 fatalities per day – nearly three times higher than the daily average of 2.2 traffic fatalities during the rest of the year.
The Christmas/New Year’s travel holiday is defined as Saturday, Dec. 22, through Tuesday, Jan. 1.
“Besides being the longest holiday period, the Christmas/New Year’s holiday is one of the most dangerous,” said David E. Parsons, president and CEO of AAA Carolinas. “Motorists should be patient with road congestion and obey all traffic laws.”
Due to decreasing gas prices and lower airfares, holiday travel in South Carolina is expected to increase by 2% this year.
Over the 11-day holiday, nearly 1.3 million South Carolinians are expected to travel more than 50 miles from home. Of those travelers, 90% (1.17 million) will drive, 6% (77,800) will fly and 4% (51,800) will travel by other means, such as train, bus or boat.
The average price of gas in South Carolina is $3.03, down 60 cents since peaking in mid-September and down 9 cents from pre-Thanksgiving holiday prices. Prices are expected to remain stable or slightly decrease over the holidays, according to AAA Carolinas, due to lower demand and high inventories.
Motorists can expect to find the cheapest gasoline in South Carolina in Spartanburg at $2.94 per gallon and the most expensive gas in Charleston at $3.12. However, South Carolina drivers will find more expensive gas in surrounding states, where prices average $3.23 in North Carolina and $3.16 in Georgia. South Carolina currently has the third-cheapest gas in the country.
Air travel is expected to be up 4% this year, due in part to lower airfares, which average $203 for the top 40 U.S. routes. However, travelers will see much higher car rental rates, up 40% from last year from $40 per day to $56 per day.
Hotel rates are up from last year, with AAA Three Diamond hotels averaging $129 (up 2%) and AAA Two Diamond hotels averaging $95 (up 3%).
South Carolina travelers are expected to log an average trip of 765 miles from home, a slight increase from 726 miles last year.
Drunk driving is always a major problem during this travel period with holiday parties often held between Christmas and New Year’s. Drivers are advised to secure a designated driver or call a cab if they are planning to consume alcohol.
In South Carolina, lane closures are prohibited on interstates and multilane primary routes from Dec. 23 to Jan. 3.
Unexpected weather or vehicle problems may leave motorists stranded this holiday season and inclement weather is probable.
AAA recommends keeping an emergency kit in your car that includes:
• Mobile phone and car charger
• Blankets and flashlight with extra batteries
• A first aid kit
• Drinking water and non-perishable snacks
• Small shovel and sack of sand or cat litter for traction
• Windshield scraper
• Battery booster cables
• Plastic emergency triangle reflectors
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 1.8 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
1. Christmas Gas 2012.pdf
2. Winter Driving Tips.pdf
3. WINTER CAR CARE TIPS.pdf