Traveling Safely Key to Summer Fun Vacations

Eric Tegethoff | Public News Service
The spike in gas prices means many people are likely to modify their summer vacations this year. Photo Credit: Dragana Gordic / Adobe Stock

The busy summer travel season has kicked off, and a few tips can help ensure hitting the road is as painless as possible.

Matthew Conde, public affairs director for AAA Idaho, said people should refresh their emergency kits with flares, first-aid kits and flashlights, and should think about less conventional items.

“Bring along a tarp,” Conde suggested. “That way, you have temporary shade if you are waiting somewhere by the roadside, perhaps waiting for some help. And, of course, a blanket or a towel or something that you can use to protect yourself from hot asphalt or road debris if you do need to kneel down to change a tire or check tire pressure or things like that.”

Conde recommended people bring a gallon of water, which can serve many purposes. It can help cool down people and pets and also top off overheating radiators. He advised people also should bring an extra change of clothes in the event of unexpected delays, or even spontaneous fun, like a detour for a swim in a nearby lake.

Unfortunately, one of the biggest hurdles to summer travel this year is increasing gas prices. Conde pointed out AAA research found three-quarters of people will change their driving habits when gas prices hit five dollars a gallon.

“But we also learned that 50% of the people who have already booked a summer vacation won’t change it no matter what gas prices are doing,” Conde reported.

Conde stressed people should be careful driving during the summer months.

“We call them the 100 deadliest days, from Memorial Day to Labor Day,” Conde noted. “Because obviously so many more people are out there driving at all times, day and night. The road conditions are actually good and, of course, that means people start driving faster.”

Conde added demand for travel will be higher this year and people should probably budget 20% to 30% higher for trips than they did last year.