AAA Predicts 141,500 South Dakotans will Salute Summer Freedom with a July Fourth Getaway
July 1, 2019 – AAA South Dakota predicts more than 141,500 South Dakotans will travel 50 miles or more from home over the long Independence Day holiday this year, 3.1 percent more than last year. Eighty-five percent of these travelers (120,410 South Dakotans) will get there by motor vehicle, up 3.1 percent, and air travel is expected to increase by 3 percent.
Nationally, AAA projects nearly 49 million Americans will journey over the holiday weekend, a 4.1 percent increase from those who traveled last year and over 5 million more compared to the Memorial Day holiday weekend. The Independence Day holiday travel period is defined as Wednesday, July 3 to Sunday, July 7.
“The Fourth of July holiday is typically the busiest summer travel holiday, with five million more Americans traveling compared to Memorial Day weekend,” said Marilyn Buskohl, spokeswoman for AAA South Dakota. “In line with tradition, most travelers are celebrating their newfound summer freedom with an all-American road trip.”
Before taking that road trip, a little advance planning can save time and trouble on down the highway.
Here are some tips from AAA:
FLUIDS ARE KEY
- Check the engine oil level. And get an oil change if needed.
- With the engine warm and running, check the automatic transmission fluid level. Top it off if needed. Be careful not to overfill.
- Check the coolant level in the overflow tank and top off as needed with a 50-50 mix of antifreeze/coolant and water. If the engine is cool, check the level in the radiator as well. If the radiator is not completely full, have the cooling system checked by a professional. Never remove the radiator cap when the engine is hot.
- Brake fluid does not require topping off provided the level is between the full and low marks on the reservoir. A fluid level near or below the low marking could signal worn brakes or a leak in the system. Have the system inspected by a professional.
SEE AND BE SEEN
- Replace windshield wipers that leave streaks or don’t clear the glass with a single swipe.
- Make sure all vehicle lights, including headlights, taillights, brake lights and turn signals are functioning properly.
- Top off the windshield washer fluid reservoir with an appropriate cleaning solvent.
CHECK FOR WEAR AND TEAR
- Ensure the battery cables are securely attached and the terminals are free of corrosion.
- With the engine off and cool, check the drive belts. Replace any that are cracked, glazed or frayed.
- Check the radiator and heater hoses for visible wear, soft spots or bulges, and look for leaks around clamps and the water pump.
THOSE ALL-IMPORTANT TIRES
- Check and adjust tire pressures to the vehicle manufacturer’s recommended settings – check your owner’s manual or door jamb for these numbers, and don’t forget the spare, if you have one. Inspect the tire sidewalls for bulges, and check the tread for excessive or uneven wear that indicates the need for wheel alignment and/or tire replacement.
For maximum life, rotate your tires at the mileage interval specified in your owner’s manual. Note that some vehicles use differently-sized tires front and rear that cannot be rotated.
KNOW WHERE YOU’RE GOING
- Get up-to-date, accurate routing information before leaving home.
- Share your travel itinerary with friends and family.
- Leave a few lights on and perhaps a radio inside your home.
- Stop newspaper and mail delivery.
- Budget for fuel. Find current state-by-state gas price averages at gasprices.aaa.com
- A few basics to have on board during road trips include a small first aid kit, your vehicle owner’s manual, a flashlight, a tire pressure gauge, jumper cables, paper towels, extra water and snacks.
- Always keep a fully-charged cell phone with you so you can call for help in case of a breakdown. Carrying a car charger for your cell phone is also a good idea.
Download the free AAA Mobile app for iPhone, iPad and Android. The app lets users check current gas prices along their route, book AAA-approved hotels and find AAA-approved restaurants, check AAA discounts, call for AAA roadside assistance, find a trusted repair facility, learn about points of interest, access maps and get turn-by-turn directions. Learn more at AAA.com/mobile.
AAA Urges Travelers to Not Drive Intexticated
AAA is also encouraging travelers to stay alert behind the wheel while traveling for the Independence Day holiday. Distracted driving kills an average of nine people and injures 1,000 each day, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. According to crash facts provided by the South Dakota Office of Highway Safety, 1,073 crashes involved a distracted driver in 2017. In that same year, 378 people were seriously injured and 5 tragically lost their lives as a result of distracted driving.
Drivers interacting with cell phones to perform tasks like texting or surfing the Internet are as great as eight times more likely to be involved in a crash.