The latest travel forecast from AAA predicts that more than 2.5 million Mountain West residents will travel 50 miles or more from their homes this three-day Labor Day weekend. This represents an overall slight increase of 0.6 percent compared to last year.
“Mountain West residents are more optimistic about their financial situation, and consumer spending continues to outpace disposable income,” said AAA Utah spokesperson Rolayne Fairclough. “This indicates that Utahans are willing to take on debt to finance their end of the summer getaway.”
During this Labor Day weekend, more than 2.1 million Mountain West residents are expected to drive to reach their destinations. This represents a 0.5 percent increase compared to 2013.
The AAA survey also indicates that more than 226,000 Mountain West residents are planning to travel by air, an increase of just 2.4 percent compared to last year. More than 200,000 Mountain West residents are expected to travel by other modes of transportation, such as rail, bus and watercraft, approximately the same number of travelers as in 2013.
Nationally, AAA projects just over 34.7 million people will travel 50 miles or more during the Labor Day weekend, representing a 1.3 percent increase compared to 2013.
The AAA Leisure Travel Index shows that airfares over Labor Day weekend are expected to increase by 2.0 percent, with an average cost of $219 per ticket. Hotel rates at AAA Three Diamond lodgings are expected to average $171 per night, an increase of 6.0 percent from a year ago. Weekend car rentals are expected to remain the same as in 2013, with an average daily rate of $51.
What to Do When Your Vehicle Breaks Down on a Roadway:
• Drive to a safe location. If the car is clearly experiencing a problem, drive to the nearest parking lot. If the vehicle stops running but can still coast, guide it to the far right shoulder as far off the road as possible while remaining on level ground.
• Switch on the safety or emergency flashers and keep out of traffic. Turn on the emergency flashers to alert other motorists. Try to get the car completely off the roadway. Consider leaving the vehicle and move to a safer location. Occupants should not remain in a vehicle if there is a possibility it may be struck by other traffic.
• Exit a broken-down car on the side away from traffic. Use extreme caution and watch for oncoming vehicles, especially at night or in bad weather when visibility is limited. Unless your car may be struck by other traffic, stay inside your vehicle.
• Signal other motorists. In addition to turning on a vehicle’s emergency flashers, drivers should alert other motorists that they have a problem by raising the car hood, tying a brightly colored handkerchief or scarf to the antenna or door handle, or setting out flares, warning triangles or emergency beacons. These signals can help other drivers recognize that there is a problem and prompt them to slow down, and proceed with caution.
• Communicate your situation. Once the driver and passengers are in a safe location, request assistance from a road service provider such as AAA. Note surroundings, landmarks, buildings or road signs to help relay your location. Android and iPhone users can also download the AAA mobile app, which provides easy access to roadside assistance, vehicle battery quotes, Approved Auto Repair (AAR) locations, maps, directions, member-exclusive discounts and travel planning.
AAA projections are based on economic research and research by HIS Global Insight. The Colorado-based firm teamed up with AAA in 2009 as part of an agreement to jointly analyze travel trends during the major holidays. AAA has been reporting on holiday travel trends for more than two decades.