WICHITA, Kan. – May 22, 2019 – The West North Central Region*, of which Kansas is a part, will see more than 3.6 million people taking Memorial Day weekend trips of 50 miles or longer, a 3.6 percent increase over 2018 and the largest number of travelers since 2005, according to AAA Kansas. More than 3.1 million of those travelers, or 87 percent, will be traveling by car.
As more Kansans, and Americans in general, prepare to hit the road for the start of the summer travel season, AAA Kansas wants to make sure vehicles are road-ready and drivers are prepared to make the trip as stress-free as possible. AAA Kansas roadside rescue crews expect to assist at least 1,700 motorists on Sunflower State roads during the upcoming Memorial Day holiday weekend. Nationwide, AAA expects to be called on to rescue more than 353,000 motorists at the roadside this weekend.
The most common issues requiring roadside rescue assistance include, flat tires, lockouts and battery replacements and general engine breakdowns requiring a tow. Motorists are advised to get a complete vehicle check before they hit the road: Take your vehicle to a trusted repair shop to perform any needed maintenance such as oil changes, fluid level checks, battery tests and tire inspections (including the spare). As a bonus, AAA’s Mobile Battery Service offers free battery testing for AAA members.
“A roadside breakdown is an unpleasant experience to start a holiday vacation,” said AAA Kansas spokesman Shawn Steward. “Travelers are urged to take the time to prepare before taking off with a vehicle checkup to prevent these common roadside emergencies from delaying your trip.”
Gas Pump Relief
As the holiday weekend approaches, motorists have been experiencing some relief at the gas pumps in recent weeks. The current average gas price in Kansas is $2.61/gallon. One year ago, the average price in the state was $2.73.
Kansas fares well nationally as well – with an average price 23 cents less than the national average. Kansas has the 11th cheapest gas in the nation.
Busy Roads Can Be Dangerous Roads
As of May 20, 2019, there have been 142 fatalities on Kansas roads, compared to 131 fatalities through May 14, 2018, a 7.7 percent increase.
- Turn Around, Don’t Drown. The recent heavy rains and more rain expected through the week have lead to many highways and roads in Kansas being covered by water and impassable. Never try to drive through water covering a roadway, and never attempt to go around a barrier blocking a road due to flooding. As much as 12 inches of flowing water can sweep away a small car.
- Wipers On, Headlights On. When rain causes drivers to need their windshield wipers on, it is Kansas law that headlights are also on. See and be seen!
- Don’t drive “intexticated.” Do not text or engage in distracting activities while driving, including interacting with a cell phone, talking with passengers or looking at other objects in the vehicle. AAA’s “Don’t drive intoxicated – Don’t drive intexticated.” campaign aims to highlight and compare the impairment and potential for injuries and deaths of driving distracted with drinking and driving. Motorists can find safety tips and take the pledge against distracted driving at www.aaa.com/dontdrivedistracted.
- Stick to the speed limit. Posted speed limits are based on safe driving in optimal conditions. Slow down if weather conditions or traffic congestion warrant it.
- Buckle up. Seat belts are the single most effective means of reducing the risk of death in a crash and have saved more than 300,000 lives since 1975 in the United States alone.
- Comply with the Move Over Law. Observe the Move Over Law when law enforcement or emergency vehicles are on the side of the road. Change lanes or slow down to give sufficient clearance. This is the law in all 50 states.
- Pull out of the traffic lanes if your car breaks down. If faced with a vehicle emergency, safely steer your car off the roadway. Turn on the emergency flashers to alert other drivers and exit the vehicle on the side facing away from traffic if possible. Once everyone is in a safe location, request assistance from a road service provider.
More Travel Tips
AAA offers the following tips to prepare for the kick off of summer travel season:
- Be prepared with road maps: Use AAA’s TripTik Travel Planner tool to map a route for your trip. Travelers can also use the AAA Mobile app to take advantage of member discounts, recommended driving trips and trusted AAA Travel guides.
- Get travel accessories and safety kits: Visit your local AAA Kansas retail store for an emergency road kit in case of a roadside breakdown. A well-stocked emergency kit should include an extra mobile phone and car charger, a flashlight with extra batteries, a first-aid kit, a basic toolkit with tire pressure gauge and adjustable wrench, windshield washer solution, jumper cables and emergency flares or reflectors, drinking water, extra snacks and food for travelers and pets.
- Discounts: AAA members can save with discounted hotels, rental cars, restaurants attraction tickets to many popular travel destinations.
Check the status of your AAA membership: Make sure the membership is up to date and review coverage level options to ensure lifestyle needs are met in case of a roadside emergency. Drivers should also program 1-800-AAA-HELP in their phones. For special offers on new AAA Memberships, use the promo code: “SAFETYNEW” – for current members renewing, use the promo code: “SAFETY.”