July 4th travel increases on deadliest day

COLUMBIA (WACH) -- July 4 is a busy day on the roads, and it is also one of the most dangerous.

AAA Carolinas predicts more than 485,000 South Carolinians will travel 50 miles or more during the long holiday weekend. That is a three percent increase over last year.

Tony Smith, District Manager AAA Car Centers offers a reason for the increase.

"We have more people wanting to drive to their destination based on gas prices going down, we hear comments when they are in here getting their information," he said.

According to AAA, this follows a 46 cents per gallon drop in the prices of gas during the last six weeks.

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With the increase in traffic comes an increased risk. Traffic crash stats show July 4 to typically be the most dangerous 24-hour holiday of the year across the country.

An average 144 traffic deaths occurred on July 4th each year from 2005 to 2009, according to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety.

"Any time you have a spike in travel you're always going to have more accidents when more people are on the road," Smith said.

AAA Carolinas also finds more than 23,500 South Carolinians are expected to fly during the July 4th weekend, a 17 percent increase over last year.