More holiday getaways thanks to low gas prices, but does that also increase hazards?

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NEW YORK -- On Memorial Day Weekend, gas prices are unusually low, and that's resulted in traffic volume for the big holiday being high -- possibly the highest for at least a decade.

While that means that more people are seeking holiday getaways, it may also mean more hazards. Proper, common sense safety measures can help motorists overcome those hazards while they save big on fuel.

"It's a good opportunity to get away for the weekend and know they can get their gas for cheap," said Josh Minter, a New York designer who spoke with PIX11 News while filling up at a New Jersey Turnpike rest stop.

The turnpike filling stations have some of the lowest highway gas prices on the Eastern Seaboard, at $2.14 per gallon.

That's significantly lower than gas in Manhattan. According to, Manhattan gasoline sells from around $2.57 to more than $3.50 per gallon.

GasBuddy, which lists gas prices nationwide, also shows that in the Tri-State, getting away from the highways results in lower prices, especially in New Jersey.

In Edison, multiple stations are selling gas for $1.93 per gallon. That's far less than the nationwide average of $2.33.

Nonetheless, "we're almost 40 cents down from last year," said Cathleen Lewis, policy director at AAA North Jersey. "We're just a little up from a few weeks ago," she added. "This is a great time to travel, and those gas prices, lower than we've seen in 11 years,are making people take that extra trip."

But more people taking that extra trip results in high volumes of traffic, and that could mean hazards.

Not to rain on your Memorial Day Parade, but in 2014, the last year where numbers are available, 339 people died in Memorial Day weekend crashes, according to the National Safety Council. It's projecting that number to grow to 439 this weekend, due to more cars on the road.

"Make sure your car's ready," said Lewis, of AAA.

She said to check to make sure the tires are properly inflated, and all fluids, including oil, are topped up. Also, she added, "Put the phone away. If you're driving,you should be focusing on the road."

Waze -- the traffic management app -- analyzed its member drivers' usage on previous Memorial Days, as well as periods four weeks before and four weeks after th holiday.

It concluded that the best times to drive are Saturday and Sunday during the holiday weekend. The worst are Monday between 1:00 and 4:00 P.M. and Friday, between 3 p.m. and 5 p.m.

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