According to the American Automobile Association, 8.2 million Texans are expected to travel between the Christmas and New Years holiday week, making it the busiest holiday travel period on record.
“This is the most travelers for a holiday travel period on record,” Doug Shupe, a spokesperson for AAA Texas said. “That is more than what we saw last year — about .2 percent of an increase in the overall travel volume compared to last year. About 20,000 more Texans taking a year end travel trip this coming holiday season.”
AAA predicts 7.6 million of those Texans will be traveling by vehicle. Shupe says the reason more Texans are packing their bags has to do with rising wages, consumer optimism and low gas prices.
“Here in Texas we have more miles of state highway than any state in the country,” Chris Bishop with the Texas Department of Transportation said. “We’re all responsible for what happens when we are behind the wheel. That can be both in terms of driving safely and obeying traffic laws, but also making sure that your vehicle drives properly.”
Bishop says before Texans hit the road, they need to make sure their vehicle is winter ready.
“You don’t want to be a hazard on the road,” Bishop said. “If you break down and you are on the side of the road, you are now a target possibly for somebody who is coming down and not paying attention. If you take care of your vehicle, you keep it moving, your safer, you get better gas mileage, and you get where you a re going.”
AAA says they are prepared to come to the roadside rescue of 980,000 drivers just this week.
“The primary reasons for those roadside rescues will be flat tires, dead batteries, and people locking themselves out of their vehicles,” Shupe said. “That means checking your tire inflation and car batteries before you head out to your holiday destinations.”
Lone Star State residents aren’t just hitting the roads this week — a lot of Texans will be traveling by air. Air travel is expected to increase 1.9 percent compared to last year, according to AAA. That would mean roughly 402,000 Texans will be boarding planes.