Experts at AAA are predicting the second-highest number of Memorial Day travelers on record this year.

The automobile club is estimating 43 million Americans will be traveling next weekend, a 3.6 percent increase over 2018. More than 37 million of them will be traveling by car.

Average gas prices on Tuesday were recorded at $2.86, according to a AAA news release.

“Americans are eagerly anticipating the start of summer, and expensive gas prices won’t keep them home this Memorial Day weekend,” Paula Twidale, vice president AAA Travel, said in a statement. “Consumer spending remains strong, helped by solid job and income growth. Families continue to prioritize spending their disposable incomes on travel, and near-record numbers of them are looking forward to doing just that for Memorial Day.”

Based on the company’s travel bookings, the most popular destination of the weekend will be Orlando, Florida, followed by New York, Las Vegas, Honolulu and Anaheim, California.

One of the main services AAA provides to its members is roadside assistance. The auto club estimates it will rescue about 353,000 motorists over Memorial Day weekend.

AAA recommends drivers take their vehicle to a trusted service provider to check the tires, brakes, fluid levels and other potential sources of trouble before heading out on a long trip. Drivers should be prepared for emergencies by keeping snacks, water, flashlight, cell phone charger, batteries, first aid kit and a basic toolkit in their car.

Travelers should also factor in heavier traffic and longer drive times over the holiday weekend, along with busier hotels and restaurants. Air travelers should budget more time than usual to get through security lines. Law enforcement agencies will be providing extra patrols to catch speeders and impaired or distracted drivers throughout the state.

Oregon drivers can use www.tripcheck.com to check road conditions and closures throughout the state.

Reporter

Reporter covering city government and economic development in Hermiston, Umatilla, Stanfield and Echo.

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