Survey reveals late-summer road trip trends

In this May 24, 2013 file photo, traffic begins to thicken as motorists getting an early jump to Memorial Day destinations in Indiana and Michigan travel an interstate freeway through Chicago. Auto club AAA on Friday, May 16, 2014 said it expects a total of 36.1 million people to travel 50 miles or more this Memorial Day Weekend. If that estimate holds true, it would be the largest amount of people traveling during the holiday weekend since 2005. (AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast)

WASHINGTON — There’s still time for a summer road trip before the kids have to go back to school.

In a recent Edmunds.com survey, 40 percent of drivers say they plan to take a road trip by Labor Day.

“The summer driving season may soon be coming to an end, but the reality is many people are packing up for last-minute summer vacations,” says Jeanette Tejeda de Gomez, a spokeswoman for AAA Mid-Atlantic.

Also, August road-trippers tend to drive farther than motorists do the rest of the year, she says.

“According to the Federal Highway Administration, travelers drove about 267 billion miles in August 2013,” says Tejeda de Gomez.

When Edmunds.com asked travelers their “must-haves” for August road trips, 27 percent said they needed a GPS; 24 percent listed some form of music as a must, and a quarter of them said they couldn’t do without travel companions.

Given August’s extra travel volume, AAA Mid-Atlantic offers a few tips.

“Travelers want to be extra careful about what times of day they’re leaving, to not leave during rush hours, to make sure you take extra breaks. Change your driver every two hours,” Tejeda de Gomez says.

She also recommends against distracted driving, and suggests drivers have a passenger operate the GPS or cellphone.

One other noteworthy stat from the Edmunds.com survey: Forty-five percent of parents said they are likely to threaten to the turn the car around and go home at least once during their August road trip.

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