HAMILTON, NJ – The start to the Independence Day holiday weekend is likely going to be a wet one.  Though Hurricane Arthur is expected to spare the Jersey shore from heavy rains and winds, there is a cold front moving into our area today that will complicate the holiday weekend commute this afternoon and evening.  The National Weather Service has posted a hazardous weather outlook and flood watch for the northern Delaware, southeast Pennsylvania, and southern New Jersey through Friday morning.

AAA Mid-Atlantic projects thatapproximately 1.2 million New Jersey residents will travel 50 miles or more from home during the upcoming July 4th holiday, an increase of 1.3% compared to those who traveled for Independence Day 2013. The majority of travelers will be celebrating their freedom with a road trip, with more than eight in 10 (1 million) choosing to travel by automobile and 973,000 to take to the skies.

AAA Mid-Atlantic is urging all travelers to plan ahead, use caution and pack some patience, whether heading to the highways or the airport today.

“Motorists on the roads today are reminded of the likelihood they will face treacherous driving conditions throughout the day and into this evening, compounded by heavy holiday weekend traffic volume,” said Tracy Noble, spokesperson for AAA Mid-Atlantic.  “The most important steps to take when driving in wet weather are to buckle up, slow down, and keep a safe distance from the car in front of you.  Also, remember it’s the law in New Jersey to turn your headlights on if your windshield wipers are in use.”

Holiday travelers flying to their destinations today and tonight should also plan ahead for bad weather and flight delays.

“Before leaving home to take flight to celebrate the Independence Day holiday weekend, make sure to check the most up to date flight information either by calling the airline or going online to the airport or airline’s website,” advised Noble.

Motorists Tips:

  • Slow down - Drivers are more likely to lose control of the vehicle when roads are wet.
  • Increase following distance - This will allow time for a controlled stop.
  • Break early - Breaking early, but not hard, will allow the time needed to slow the car. 
  • Never drive through standing water - Standing water can be deceiving and motorists should avoid it. No matter how shallow it may appear water may be hiding downed power lines, may be deeper than it appears, or may have significant force from flooding, etc.
  • Drive with overall greater caution and remain alert - keep your eyes and your mind on the road.

 

Airline Travel Tips:

  • Allow EXTRA time for everything – Everything can take longer when bad weather hits.
  • Check-in and secure your boarding pass as soon as you arrive at the airport. When flights are overflowing arriving early can make a difference.
  • Avoid checking a bag if possible – Having everything you need in the event of a delay or re-routing makes the journey much more carefree.
  • Carry enough medication for two to three times the length of your trip- in carry-on luggage.
  • If checking a bag, be sure to add your favorite “creature comforts” and essential toiletries in your carry-on bag as checked baggage may not be available if you are delayed – Travel pillow, toothpaste and brush, socks and extra undergarments, playing cards can all be lifesavers in the event you and your family are stranded for any reason.
  • Include your favorite snacks in your carry-on and purchase bottled water near the gate to carry on as well. (Only liquids purchased after passing through TSA’s security check point may be carried on board the plane with some exceptions for baby formula and medical solutions etc.)
  • Pack your own personal “entertainment” selection – If stranded on the runway you can immerse yourself in a great book, catch up on work, write a note to a friend, etc. Families traveling with kids will need to remember things such as card games, travel checkers, magazines, etc., which can keep kids entertained for hours.
  • Dress comfortably and in layers – Temperatures can vary greatly from airport to plane thus layers will ensure that you can easily adjust to temperature changes.
  • Attitude is everything – Try to think of a delay and needed “down-time: to relax, read, call friends you haven’t talked to in while, work etc.