Fourth of July getaway: Americans hit road early to avoid potentially historic traffic crush

This is an archived article and the information in the article may be outdated. Please look at the time stamp on the story to see when it was last updated.

Millions of Americans are hitting the road Thursday in hopes of beating what could be historic Fourth of July weekend traffic.

With gas prices low, AAA predicts that over 42 million people across the country are planning a trip for the Fourth, which is the highest number of travelers since 2007. According to AAA:

  • More than a million people driving from NJ will be traveling more than 50 miles from home.
  • 85 percent of travelers will go by car, more than 35 million nationwide.
  • The Fourth of July is typically the busiest summer travel holiday.

The MTA is also gearing up for this weekend. The Long Island Rail Road and Metro North will be providing additional service this weekend.

The travel rush will boost the risk of accidents and fatalities. The National Safety Council predicts that as many as 409 Americans will be killed this Independence Day, and another 49,500 will be injured in accidents. Packed roadways also mean extreme delays, so make sure to plan ahead.

The New York State Police will also step up patrols starting on Friday and continuing through Monday. Using a mix of marked and undercover cars, the state police will be hunting for violators, said New York State Police Superintendent Joseph D'Amico. Last year,  the state police issued 10,200 vehicle and traffic tickets during the holiday weekend, arrested more than 180 people for DWI and responded to 650 accidents, two of which were fatal.