An estimated 42.2 million travelers will hit the roadways during the Thanksgiving weekend, according to American Automobile Association (AAA), the nation's largest automobile club.
These numbers reflect a surge against the 37.9 million Thanksgiving travelers in 2009. This year's projected increase in holiday travel appears to be the result of modestly improved economic conditions since last year, including an increase in gross domestic product, real disposable personal income and household net worth combined with a decrease in consumer debt, the association said.
With the increase of cars out on the road, AAA recommends five car maintenance tasks to help holiday travelers avoid car trouble and unnecessary delays.
The recommendations are listed below:
1. Check tire pressure and depth. Don't forget to check the spare. To check tread depth, place a quarter upside down in the tread groves. If the top of Washington's head is exposed at any point it's time for new tires.
2. Check wiper blades and fluid. Make sure the windshield fluid works in the cold weather and that the blades sweep the entire windshield clear with each swipe.
3. Check the battery. The battery should not have any corrosion. AAA members can contact Mobile Battery Service for a battery check and onsite replacement if necessary.
4. Have an emergency road kit. The kit should contain:
- Ice scraper
- Gloves, blankets
- Jumper cables
- Warning flares
- Drinking water
- Non-perishable food
- Extra warm clothes
- First-aid kit
- Basic tools
- Mobile phone with car charger
5. Have the car serviced. Have a technician do a full vehicle check before going on a road trip.
Speaking on the surge in the number of Thanksgiving travelers this year, AAA President and CEO Robert L. Darbelnet said, While Americans remain cautious with household budgets and discretionary spending amidst high levels of unemployment, many are in a better financial position this Thanksgiving than a year ago... This improvement, along with a strong desire to spend time with friends and family, is expected to propel a significant increase in Thanksgiving travel.