Memorial Day Weekend: Record Number of Travelers Expected

HYANNIS – Motorists should expect long delays on and off Cape Cod for the holiday weekend.

For the first time, AAA is predicting more than one million Massachusetts residents to travel during Memorial Day Weekend, with more than 908,000 heading to their destination by car.

Nationwide nearly 43 million people are expected to travel this weekend, which would be the second highest total since Triple A began tracking holiday travel in 2000.

AAA Northeast Director of Public and Legislative Affairs Mary Maguire said motorists should see a lot of traffic over the Bourne and Sagamore Bridges, especially Friday evening.

“I think we are going to see a lot of people heading onto the Cape, especially given the fact that we have a good weather forecast,” Maguire said.

Sunshine with high temperatures around 70 degrees is expected for Saturday on Cape Cod.

Rain is possible late Saturday night through Sunday morning before skies clear for a high in the low 70s Sunday afternoon with sunshine and a high in the mid-60s on Memorial Day.

AAA is predicting three times the normal traffic Friday evening as weekday commuters who are headed home blend in with travelers, who may be escaping to the Cape or elsewhere.

“People should certainly use their favorite real-time weather and traffic apps, whether it is the AAA mobile app, Waze, or GoTime,” Maguire said. “Whatever it is, use your favorite tools to figure out what the situation is out there on the roadways before you head out.”

Maguire said you don’t want to be sitting at a five-mile backup at the Bourne and Sagamore Bridges if you can sit for a one-mile backup or no backup at all.

“So really try to gauge the traffic situation and time your departure accordingly,” she said.

Maguire credits the strong economy and low unemployment as factors contributing to the record number of Bay State travelers.

“People with jobs have more disposable income to spend on a vacation or to spend on a weekend getaway,” she said.

Gas prices have also remained steady in Massachusetts over the last few weeks, at $2.80 per gallon for self-serve, regular unleaded, which may also be contributing to the higher travel numbers. The state average is seven cents lower than it was at the same time last year.

Maguire said motorists should remember to drive safely and defensive as crashes and fatalities spike during holiday weekends.

“Fasten your seat belt. Buckle up. Don’t drive drunk, drowsy or distracted,” Maguire said. “Remember that you face increased risk when you head out on a holiday weekend and you just want to be really careful.”

AAA expects to be called to assist more than 353,000 motorists at the roadside this weekend.

Dead batteries, flat tires and lockouts are the leading causes of car trouble.

AAA recommends motorists take their vehicles to a trusted repair facility to perform any needed maintenance before heading out on a trip. To prepare for emergencies carry a cell phone with a car charger, a flashlight with extra batteries, a first-aid kit, a basic toolkit, and drinking water and snacks.


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