Labor Day is almost here, and AAA Oklahoma is predicting an increase in the number of Oklahomans who will be traveling for the holiday weekend.
AAA estimates 386,000 Oklahomans will travel between Aug. 31 and Sept. 3 this year, a 4 percent increase over 2011 when 371,000 used the long weekend for one last summer trip.
AAA Oklahoma's Vice President-Public Affairs Chuck Mai reported that auto and air travel are both expected to be up from last year, cars by 3.1 percent and airlines 3.7 percent.
Mai said it looks like consumer confidence is influencing the increase, despite a sluggish economy and high fuel prices.
"And for drivers, the impetus of going on one more road trip before winter hits is apparently proving too hard to resist," he said.
While on the road for the holiday weekend, travelers can take advantage of AAA's various digital resources to help make their trip easier and more enjoyable.
For example, Mai said motorists may download AAA.com/mobile to access GPS navigation and help travelers map a route, check gas prices, review member discounts and get roadside assistance.
AAA also offers eTourBook guides, with top tour destinations, at AAA.com/ebooks. Cities like Orlando, New York and Las Vegas are included, along with the National Parks.
Mai said travelers may also use AAA.com/Travel to find AAA-approved and Diamond Rated hotels and restaurants.
While AAA is a membership organization, Mai said you don't have to be a AAA member to take advantage of these digital travel tools.
"This information is open to everybody," Mai said of the digital content. "About 90 percent of our information is publicly accessible."
OHP TRAVEL TIPS FOR HOLIDAY WEEKEND
Trooper Betsy Randolph, of the Oklahoma Highway Patrol's Public Affairs Office, agrees with the predictions of heavier traffic this Labor Day when compared to last year.
For those who will take to Oklahoma highways this holiday, Randolph offered some basic tips to make sure their holiday travels are safe and enjoyable.
In particular, the trooper said drivers should be alert and follow directions when traveling through work zones, to avoid accidents and help assure workers are safe.
"Just because you're on a holiday doesn't mean that road worker is, too," she said. "They are sometimes hard to see."
Randolph noted that there are speed limits in construction zones to be followed, "whether or not you see a worker, and whatever time it is, day or night."
She also encouraged motorists to ensure your vehicle is in good driving condition before heading out on a Labor Day trip. This includes seeing that belts and hoses are checked, tires inflated properly, fluids topped off and the gas tank is full, she said.
"And make sure your insurance is up-to-date and you have proof of that," she added.
If you experience any travel troubles, such as a flat tire, your car breaks down, or you have an accident, Randolph said you can call the highway patrol for help anytime by dialing *55 on your cell phone.
In addition to having troopers on duty to help travelers in trouble, Randolph said OHP will also have its officers out in force for the holiday weekend as part of the "Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over" campaign to combat drunk driving.
"This is a 100-percent preventable crime," she said of alcohol-impaired driving. "Two people are killed every minute in this country because of a drunk driver, and that's unacceptable."
If you choose to indulge in alcohol and need to travel somewhere, Randolph said to designate a driver who's "completely sober, no drinking at all."
"Or, just stay at the party site until you are completely sober," she said.