Triple AAA road trip tips for 4th of July roadies

Record-Breaking Travel Expected During July 4 Week

With the upcoming July 4 holiday, a significant number of Americans are expected to hit the road, making it the busiest 4th of July for traveling since records began. According to Rhonda Schwartz, District Director of AAA, approximately 71 million people are predicted to travel during this period, which includes the weekend before and after the holiday. This number represents a 5% increase compared to 2023 and an 8% increase over 2019, surpassing pre-pandemic numbers. TSA saw 2.99 million passengers pass through U.S. airports last Friday alone.

Safety Tips for Family Road Trips

To ensure safety during family road trips, Schwartz advises preparing a comprehensive checklist. In collaboration with Chicco, AAA has provided safety tips for families with small children. Before embarking on a trip, it’s essential to get your car serviced and pack an emergency kit containing essentials like a first-aid kit, tools, snacks, and drinking water for all passengers and pets.

While driving, observing safety measures such as buckling up seatbelts, maintaining appropriate speed for traffic and weather conditions, being cautious in road construction zones, minimizing distractions, and avoiding driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol is crucial.

Car Seat Safety

Car seat safety is particularly important for children. Parents should ensure their child’s weight and height are appropriate for the seat and mode of use, especially when transitioning from rear to forward-facing. Children should remain rear-facing as long as possible for better protection of their head, neck, and spine in the event of a crash. Chicco offers a car seat comparison guide to help parents choose the best car seat for their child.

Before hitting the road, it’s recommended to double-check the car seat installation using the "inch test." If the seat moves more than one inch in any direction, it should be uninstalled and reinstalled until a secure fit is achieved. For any questions, parents can refer to the car seat manual, QR codes, or online resources like those offered by Chicco.

Securing Loose Items and Being Prepared

It’s essential to secure loose items in the car to prevent them from becoming projectiles in case of a sudden stop. Storage organizers can help keep everything in its place. An emergency kit with first-aid supplies, water, snacks, blankets, jumper cables, and flares should also be packed. Ensure your phone is fully charged and keep a charger in the car to call for AAA or roadside assistance if needed.

Mapping Your Route and Entertainment

Families with young children should plan for frequent and longer stops along the way. AAA TripTik can be used to map out routes, while AAA Trip Canvas can help browse hotels, restaurants, and other activities along the way. To keep children entertained, toys and books should be placed within reach, and devices should be fully charged and pre-downloaded before leaving home. Creating a family playlist of everyone’s favorite songs can also help make the road trip more enjoyable.

As of June 19, 2024, the national average price for gasoline is $3.44/gal., which is 13 cents less than a year ago. In South Dakota, the average gas price is $3.24/gal., 18 cents lower than one year ago, and currently the 16th lowest in the nation.

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