Nice weather, low gas prices will greet more than 36 million Fourth of July automobile travelers

Published on LancasterOnline and in print (front page, dominant story) on June 30.

Sunny weather and low gas prices make for an ideal traveling situation for many Americans this Fourth of July weekend.

With 43 million travelers across the United States expected to travel this Thursday to Monday, this year’s Fourth of July weekend is slated to beat the record of 42.3 million travelers set in 2007 and 2015, according to AAA.

This year boasts an estimated 10.7 percent increase in travelers on Fourth of July weekend from the average of the past 15 years, according to AP.

“We are well on our way for 2016 to be a record-breaking year for summertime travel,” said AAA President and CEO Marshall Doney in a statement.

Many Lancaster-natives are traveling this holiday weekend.

Cena Ott, a title clerk from Lancaster, is taking this time to go to Ocean City, Md. with her family.

“I travel to Ocean City on the (Fourth) every year if possible for fireworks on the beach,” Ott said, adding that this is the only holiday she travels. The lower cost of gas also motivated her to travel this year, she said.

Gasoline prices

An overwhelming 84 percent of those who are traveling this year are doing so by car, according to AAA. Regular unleaded gasoline prices average roughly $2.30 nationwide, while at this time last year it averaged around $2.77. According to Gasbuddy, Lancaster’s gas prices average at about $2.33.

The average gasoline prices are the lowest they have been since 2005, according to AAA.

According to Cost 2 Drive, a gas cost calculator, a round trip from Lancaster, Pa. to Ocean City, Md. would cost around $30 in gas. It would cost roughly the same to go to Wildwood, N.J.

A round trip from Lancaster, Pa. to Outer Banks, N.C. would cost around $70.

Weather

For those staying in Lancaster this holiday weekend, the weather will be sunny with a high of 83, according to Accuweather.

In April, we asked the readers of Lancaster Newspaper to tell us their favorite beaches. According to Accuweather, here are the Fourth of July conditions for Lancaster’s top five go-to beaches.

  • Ocean City, Md.: High of 79. Sunny with a 35 percent chance of thunderstorms.
  • Wildwood, N.J.: High of 77. Sunny with a 35 percent chance of thunderstorms.
  • Hatteras, N.C.: High of 84. Sunny with a 40 percent chance of thunderstorms.
  • Ocean City, N.J: High of 79. Sunny, beautiful weather.
  • Cape May, N.J.: High of 77. Sunny with a 35 percent chance of thunderstorms.

The weather for the weekend before the Fourth is slated to be in the upper 70s to the lower 80s for Ocean City, Md., Wildwood, N.J, Ocean City, N.J. and Cape May N.J, with only a slight chance of thunderstorms.

Hatteras, N.C. will have temperatures in the mid 80s, with sporadic thunderstorms.

Traffic, construction and directions

Holidays can sometimes be dangerous for travelers due to the sheer amount of people on the road, but the Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission is taking preventative measures. Additional personnel will be working during this holiday weekend to clean up road debris and make the commute easier for travelers.

“We do expect to be busy,” said Pa Turnpike Commission spokeswoman Renee Vid Colborn.

For those who are going to Ocean City, Md. and Hatteras, N.C., I-95 will have no maintenance construction. The Atlantic Expressway that leads to Cape May and Ocean City, N.J. are slated to not have maintenance.

Construction will be halted on all other major routes and interstates, including I-76, I-83, Delaware 1, Route 222 and Route 30.

Driving carefully

In 2015, the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation reported that 911 crashes happened on Independence Day, and 11 of them resulted in deaths.

In Lancaster county, 12 alcohol-related crashes and two drug-related crashes happened on the Fourth of July weekend in 2015, none of which resulted in any deaths.

Drivers are encouraged to practice safe driving habits, such as not texting and driving, and always wearing seatbelts.

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