Posted by Debra Worley - email
WILMINGTON, NC (WECT) - Many families use the July 4th holiday weekend to get away, but AAA is projecting the number of Americans traveling this year to decrease 1.9% from 2008.
According to AAA, rising fuel prices and economic uncertainty are to blame for the decrease in travel. They added the decline is due to ongoing uncertainty about the strength of the economy, especially rising joblessness and sagging personal incomes.
AAA says the July 4th holiday is usually the busiest time of year for auto travel, because most school-aged children are out of school at this time.
If you plan to head out next weekend, Car Care Council offers three suggestions for a traveler's 10-minute pre-trip checklist:
- Check all fluids. There are several fluids, in addition to antifreeze, that require attention, including engine oil, power steering, brake and transmission fluids and windshield washer solvent and antifreeze/coolant.
- Check hoses and belts. A belt that fails can affect the electrical system, air conditioning and power steering, as well as the cooling system. Cooling system hoses may be deteriorating from within, so old hoses and clamps in marginal condition might need to be replaced.
- Check the tires. Check tire inflation and inspect the tread for uneven wear, indicating the need for wheel alignment. Also look for bulges and bald spots.
"While a last minute checkup is better than no checkup, motorists should plan ahead to allow time to perform necessary maintenance themselves or at the local service facility," said the Car Care Council's Executive Director Rich White in a statement. "A properly maintained vehicle is safer and more dependable and will even save a few dollars at the gas pumps."
For more car care tips, visit their website at www.carcare.org.
The DOT reminds drivers to leave early to get a head start on your drive and to travel at non-peak times. They also remind motorists to:
- Stay alert. Even though workers may not be present in the majority of work zones, drivers may encounter narrowed lanes and traffic shifts;
- Be patient and obey the posted speed limit. The penalty for speeding through a marked work zone is $250;
- Use alternate routes, when possible, to avoid traffic congestion; and
- Call 511, the department's free travel information line, or visit www.ncdot.gov/traffictravel <http://www.ncdot.org/traffictravel> for real-time travel information.