Despite rising gas prices, more people will be taking to the highways for the Memorial Day holiday weekend across Ohio and the nation. In fact, AAA forecasts the highest number of travelers since 2005 taking to not only the roads, but also the skies as well as other forms of transportation such as cruise ships, buses and trains.
The Memorial Day holiday period is defined as Thursday May 24 - Monday May 28.
“The vast majority of this year’s Memorial Day journeys – nearly 9 in 10 nationally – will be road trips on our highways, so we’re reminding people to make sure their vehicles are ready,” said Jenifer Moore, AAA spokeswoman. "Some simple yet important car maintenance, especially with batteries, important engine systems, and tires, can prevent you from being stranded during your road trip. But if a breakdown happens, our AAA roadside service will be available to help."
AAA provides this snapshot – by the numbers – of some of AAA’s key travel forecast projections and latest gas prices, and offers car maintenance tips and road trip recommendations for the Memorial Day weekend travel period:
Memorial Day Travel and Gas Prices by the Numbers
- 1,632,178– Number of Ohioans traveling for Memorial Day
- 1,475,721 – Number of Ohioans traveling by car Memorial Day weekend.
- 88,872– Number of Ohioans flying to their Memorial Day destination.
- 67,585– Number of Ohioans using other modes of transportation such as buses or taking cruises for the Memorial Day holiday.
- 6,000+ – Number of motorists that AAA Cincinnati Roadside Assistance expects to rescue during the Memorial Day travel weekend.
- $2.86 – Average Ohio price for a gallon of regular gas as of 5/22/18.
- 47 – Ohio’s rank of states with the largest yearly increase in gas prices as of 5/22/18. Ohio’s average per-gallon price has risen 50 cents in the past year.
- 20 – Ohio’s rank of states with the lowest gas prices in America as of 5/22/18.
- $2.91 – Average gas price in Dayton, OH, the highest in the state as of 5/22/18.
- 2 – Cincinnati’s rank on the list of highest gas prices for Ohio cities as of 5/22/18. The current average price is $2.91.
- 44646 – Zip code of Canton-Massillon, Ohio, which boasts Ohio’s lowest average gas price this week at $2.74 /gallon.
- 2014 – Last year that drivers faced Memorial Day gas prices as high as this year.
- $2.93 – National gas price average as of 5/22/18, five cents higher than one week ago and 57 cents more than a year ago.
- Additional detail on this week’s national gas price report is available here. Daily gas price updates for every state in America and key metro areas may be found using AAA’s Fuel Gauge Report at GasPrices.AAA.com.
Additional Memorial Day Projections
- 41.5 million – Number of Americans nationwide who will journey 50 miles or more away from home this Memorial Day holiday, a 5 percent increase over last year.
- Nearly 2 million – Number of additional people nationwide taking to the roads, skies, rails and waterways compared with last year.
- 2005 – The last year that had a higher Memorial Day weekend travel volume than 2017.
- 88 – Percent of all travelers nationally – 45.5 million – who are planning a Memorial Day driving road trip, an increase of 4.7 percent over last year.
- 3.1 million – Number of travelers nationwide who will fly to their Memorial Day destination. With a 6.8 percent increase over last year, air travel is the mode of travel that will see the largest growth this year.
- 340,000 – Number of motorists nationwide that AAA expects to rescue with roadside assistance this Memorial Day weekend, with the primary reasons being lockouts, flat tires and battery-related issues.
- 24 & 25 – May 2018 dates when drivers can expect the greatest amount of traffic congestion, especially in larger metro areas and between 3 p.m. and 6 p.m. and, when commuters leave work early and mix with holiday travelers.
- $168 – Average price for a round-trip flight for the top 40 domestic routes according to AAA’s Leisure Travel Index – 7 percent lower than Memorial Day 2017.
- 5 – Top 5 destinations for Memorial Day 2018, according to AAA.com bookings: Orlando, Florida; Seattle, Washington; Honolulu, Hawaii; Las Vegas, Nevada; Anchorage, Alaska.
- $59- Average daily cost of a car this Memorial Day—lowest rate in past four years and 11 percent cheaper than last year.
Vehicle Maintenance and Emergency Kit Tips
Dead batteries, lockouts and flat tires will be the leading reasons motorists will experience car trouble this holiday weekend.
Before hitting the road, make sure your vehicle is road-trip ready. Make a good B-E-T to stay on the road this summer by having your Battery tested, looking for Engine coolant leaks and checking Tire condition.
Also make sure windshield wipers, belts and hoses, and lights (headlights, tail lights, turn signals) are in good condition and working properly. Also, keep plenty of gas in your tank to avoid being stranded by running out.
“It’s also a good idea to be prepared by keeping an emergency kit in your vehicle,” continued Moore. “It should contain items including mobile phone and car charger, jumper cables, a flashlight with extra batteries, road flares or reflective triangle, first-aid kit, basic toolkit, extra medications, and drinking water and snacks for all passengers, including your traveling pets.”
10 AAA Road Trip Tips
AAA also recommends these 10 tips for making Memorial Day road trips safer and more hassle-free:
- With busier roads during the holiday weekend, obey posted speed limits. Speed limits are based on safe driving in optimal conditions. Slow down if weather conditions or traffic congestion warrant it.
- Leave plenty of space between your vehicle and the one in front of you. Be extra vigilant and leave extra space for motorcycles.
- Have everyone in your vehicle wear their seat belts at all times.
- Avoid distractions while driving. Don’t use your cell phone while you’re behind the wheel. If needed, let a passenger respond to a message or look something up on your phone.
- Observe the Move Over Law when law enforcement or emergency vehicles are on the side of the road. Change lanes or slow down to give sufficient clearance. This is the law in all 50 states.
- If faced with a vehicle emergency, safely steer your car off the roadway. Turn on the emergency flashers to alert other drivers and exit the vehicle on the side facing away from traffic if possible. Once everyone is in a safe location, request assistance from a road service provider.
- Never drink and drive, and remember, buzzed driving is drunk driving. Plan ahead and have a designated driver or organize a ride if you’ll be consuming alcohol.
- For help in planning your road trip, for discounts with many travel partners such as hotels and Hertz rental cars, and for the peace-of-mind provided by AAA emergency roadside assistance should a breakdown occur, making sure your membership is active or joining AAA is important and as simple as going to www.AAA.com.
- Find daily gas price updates for every state in America and key metro areas using AAA’s Fuel Gauge Report at GasPrices.AAA.com or via the AAA mobile app.
- Pack your patience, have a safe trip and enjoy the kickoff to summer.
AAA provides automotive, travel, and insurance services to 58 million members nationwide and more than three million members in Ohio. AAA advocates for the safety and mobility of its members and has been committed to outstanding road service for more than 100 years. AAA is a non-stock, non-profit corporation working on behalf of motorists, who can now map a route, find local gas prices, discover discounts, book a hotel, and track their roadside assistance service with the AAA Mobile app (AAA.com/mobile) for iPhone, iPad and Android. For more information, visit www.AAA.com.