Crowded roads to greet holiday weekend drivers

Economic conditions are behind what’s expected to be the second-busiest Fourth of July¬†holiday weekend for California residents who plan to travel, according to a AAA survey.

More than 4.9 million residents are expected to travel 50 or miles from home, the second highest number since AAA started tracking the number in 2000 and the highest number since 2002.

The number represents a 1.5 percent increase over 2015, AAA officials said.

AAA spokeswoman Cynthia Harris said in a statement:

“Economic growth, increased disposable income and lower gas prices have spurred many California’s to celebrate our Independence Day weekend by traveling. …¬†We are well on our way for 2016 to be a record-breaking year for summertime travel.”

About 3.9 million residents will travel by car, a 1 percent increase compared with 2015. More than 600,000 residents are expected to travel by air, a 3 percent increase.

More than 428,000 are expected to travel by other modes of travel, such as bus and train, which is a 1.5 percent increase over last year.

More than 43 million people across the country will travel for the holiday, the highest number on record and a 1.3 percent increase over last year.

Weekend airfares are expected to be 9 percent lower on trips on the top 40 U.S. air routes, according to the AAA Leisure Travel Index.

Lodging prices are expected to be down slightly to $144 per night for a AAA Three Diamond hotel, while car rental rates are expected to be six percent higher than last year at $75 on average.

For Northern California residents traveling or staying at home, AAA is offering it’s Tipsy Tow program, which gives drivers who drink a free tow and ride home.

The program starts at 6 p.m. July 4 and ends at 6 a.m. July 5.

It’s available to AAA member and non-members. Call (800) 222-4357 to get a tow of up to 10 miles from home.