Holiday week shows slow warm-up
Posted December 22, 2008 11:07 a.m. EST
Updated March 9, 2009 5:09 p.m. EDT
Raleigh, N.C. — While snow and ice snarl travel in the Northeast, Midwest and West, holiday travelers in the Triangle should have a relatively easy trip.
AAA predicts fewer than 3 million people will travel this week in the Carolinas, most of them by car.
For those staying close to home, the weather poses little threat, WRAL meteorologist Mike Maze said.
On Tuesday, traditionally the heaviest travel day, the Triangle should see sunshine and temperatures warming into the mid-40s, Maze said. Christmas Eve will be mostly cloudy or overcast with spotty, light rain.
"We have a cold front coming in Christmas Eve overnight," Maze said, "But it should pass quickly Christmas morning and we'll see sunshine and a high in the mid-60s by afternoon."
Drivers cautioned to watch speed, sobriety
Lower gas prices are credited with the prediction that more people will travel by car. AAA noted the average price per gallon is $1.27 cheaper than at this time in 2007.
The North Carolina Department of Transportation halted most major construction projects along interstates and U.S. highways at 4 p.m. Friday. They will resume at 9 a.m. Jan. 5.
Drivers cautioned about speed, sobriety
Repaving along Interstate 85 in Vance County, though, will continue as DOT crews try to finish that project by the end of the year.
The state Highway Patrol will crackdown on speeding and drunk driving. Extra patrols will be deployed on major highways and heavily traveled corridors, and sobriety checkpoints will be set up through the state this week.
"Holiday travel can be very dangerous on our highways if people don't obey the laws and use common sense when they travel," Col. Walter J. Wilson, the patrol's commander, said. "Drinking and driving do not mix. Make the right choice – don't drink and drive."
AAA Carolinas recommends that drivers to take a break every two hours or 150 miles to stay fresh and focused on the road.
In the 2007 holiday season, wrecks killed 27 people and injured 1,118. The leading cause of the wrecks was speed.
The official holiday season runs Christmas Eve to midnight New Year's Day.
To report safety hazards, call the Highway Patrol toll-free at *HP. For travel information, call the state's free information line at 511.
Economy, weather limit air travel
Those taking to the air should keep an eye on the forecast throughout the northeast, where wind, cold and freezing rain were delaying flights Monday afternoon. AAA predicted air travel would be down almost 8 percent from last year.
“The economy is the grinch in this year’s Christmas holiday travel period,” said David E. Parsons, president and CEO of AAA Carolinas. “Planes will be packed with the airlines’ capacity cutbacks. Winter weather can trigger delays and cancellations creating chaos and hassles at airports.”
AAA offers these tips to ease the trip through airport security.
- Carry a single bag on the plane to save baggage check-in costs and possible delays in baggage areas.
- Be sure to have required identification available such as driver’s license, state photo identity cards or U.S. passport to go through security lines.
- Remember the 3-1-1 rule for carry-on bags. Only three ounces or less of liquids or gels can be carried, in a one-quart size zip lock bag in one bag to be carried on the plane.
- Purchase any water, drinks, snacks or food to carry on the plane after entering airport security, saving money over the cost of food offered for sale on the plane.