CHICAGO (June 30, 2017) – With gas prices at their lowest level since 2005, millions of Americans are expected to hit the road this weekend for the Fourth of July holiday.
Officials say more than 44 million people will hit the road, which is nearly 1.25 million more travelers than last year.
The Illinois State Highway Toll Authority estimates 7.7 million vehicles will be on Chicago-area toll roads between Friday and Tuesday. According to traffic officials, the best time to hit the road this weekend is Monday, July 3. The heaviest traffic is expected between 2 p.m. and 5 p.m. on Friday, July 30.
Heavy traffic should also be expected between 10 p.m. and 11 p.m. on Independence Day, after fireworks shows wrap up. According to a report from Yahoo! News, traffic is an average of three times higher than a normal weekday during that time.
Sadly, with increased traffic volume, coupled with a greater number of people drinking, the Fourth of July is one of the deadliest holidays of the year, according to a report from the Chicago Tribune. In fact, 39 percent of all deadly car crashes occur over the Fourth of July holiday weekend.
In anticipation of the increased risk for crashes, many law enforcement agencies ramp up their DUI enforcement efforts during holiday weekends. Hundreds of Americans die every year as a result of alcohol-related crashes. To combat drunk driving, officers routinely set up sobriety checkpoints on holiday weekends, when driving under the influence is most common. If you plan on drinking this holiday weekend, be sure to use public transportation, cabs or Uber, or designate a member of your group to be a sober driver for the night.
Drinking and driving isn’t the only cause of car crashes. We have put together a list of safety tips to use while traveling this Fourth of July weekend: