Holiday travel expectations and tips

COLLEGE STATION, Texas (KBTX) – With the holidays approaching, AAA expects it to be a busy travel period, especially for Texas.

Around 115 million people are set to travel for the holidays; in the Lone Star State alone that number is around 9 million. According to AAA, this will be the second busiest holiday travel period on record with people traveling by both road and air. Year after year, AAA says the volume of travelers has been increasing.

As for when everyone is expected to begin their trips, Daniel Armbruster with AAA said people normally start leaving on Friday, but the days that follow tend to be the busiest.

“The 10-day period is officially December 23rd to January 1st and in that time period, 9 million people traveling in Texas, 8.3 million of them will be driving about 90 percent, so very busy on the roadways, especially in those major metro areas and those major arteries such as U.S. 75, Dallas, Fort Worth,” Armbruster said.

The good news for travelers who will hit the road, Armbruster said gas prices are at a three-year low.

“Likely the price will go down a little bit more at least before we get to the Christmas holiday, now one thing to keep in mind is when we have busy holiday travel periods sometimes demand is so strong you do see fluctuations in price, so the price might go up a little bit and come back down,” Armbruster said.

But before getting on the road for that long drive, CarDoc Automotive in College Station said it’s important for people to make sure their vehicle is ready for it. Things like making sure there is enough air in the tires, and making sure brakes are working properly especially since there will be a lot of traffic.

“The things that I’ve been seeing a lot, the most, the battery’s dropping out, this summer’s heat was so hard on them, I’ve been seeing a bunch of those. Another thing is to make sure you have the right ratio of coolant and water in your vehicle so that if we get another freeze like we did you don’t need an engine afterward,” said Aaron Loveless, Service Manager at CarDoc Automotive

At the end of the day, Loveless said making the proper preparations will make the trip safer for the driver and their passengers.

“The biggest thing is just a safety check even if you have to check the fluids yourself. A lot of places will gladly check your fluids and top them off if you need, but just that extra minute or two of checking it over and not assuming everything is going to be good can save so many headaches,” said Loveless.

Armbruster said 46,000 motorists will call AAA Texas for roadside assistance during the 10-day period with the top reasons being dead batteries, flat tires, and engine problems. That’s why he said it’s important to have an emergency road kit.

“That includes a charged cell phone, of course, but also charging cable, making sure you have flares or some type of device, a beacon, so if you have a roadside emergency other drives can see and you. You want to have for cold weather extra coats and extra blankets for you and your passenger,” Armbruster said.

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