If you're planning to take a road trip this weekend, expect plenty of company as many Phoenix-area residents are planning a getaway for Memorial Day.
Holiday travel should be up by about 5 percent, according to AAA. The automobile association said it expects about 642,000 Arizonans to hit the roads this weekend, up from about 607,000 in 2014. Nationally, 37.2 million travelers are expected to be on the move this weekend in all modes of transportation. That's compared to 35.5 million last year.
In Arizona, 733,000 people are expected to take trips 50-or-more miles from home this weekend, as opposed to 699,000 last year.
A variety of factors, such as the improving economy and lower gas prices, are behind the projections.
TRAFFIC: No Phoenix-area road closures scheduled this weekend
Travelers hitting the roads of Arizona will have few highway construction projects to navigate this weekend. The Arizona Department of Transportation does not have any closures because of road work scheduled for the holiday period.
"We try our best to give drivers a break by not scheduling closures over a longer weekend associated with travel," ADOT said. "Of course, drivers should still be prepared for unscheduled restrictions due to crashes, disabled vehicles or other events such as brush fires near highways."
The roadways that busy traffic is anticipated include:
- Interstate 17 between Anthem and Sunset Point Rest Area
- Arizona 87 between Fountain Hills and Payson
- Arizona 260 between Payson and Show Low
- U.S. 93 between Wickenburg and Hoover Dam
- Westbound I-8 and I-10 between Phoenix and California
Heavy traffic on Arizona roads could also resort in a scary experience for motorists unfortunate enough to experience car trouble as well as the people who assist them.
Drivers should pay heed to the state's move-over law, which requires drivers approaching an emergency vehicle displaying flashing lights to slow down and, when possible, merge into a lane away from the stopped vehicles.
If you've ever been in a position where you're stranded on the side of the freeway or highway, you know how scary it can be. Be prepared before you hit the road
We offer the following tips to help drivers plan for unscheduled closures due to crashes and disabled vehicles:
- Pack extra drinking water and snack food (in other words, think of things that will help if an unscheduled closure occurs)
- A fully-charged cell phone is important - especially in emergencies.
- Check your vehicle's tire pressure before heading out on trip.
- Pack some patience and extra travel time.
- Get a good night's sleep before heading out on a long road trip.
EVERYONE, HAVE A FUN AND SAFE MEMORIAL DAY WEEKEND!