Memorial Day weekend travel expected to reach pre-pandemic levels for first time

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Posted at 7:39 AM, May 26, 2023
and last updated 2023-05-26 08:39:53-04

Memorial Day weekend travel in Texas is expected to fully rebound from the pandemic for the first time this year.

AAA Texas estimates 3.5 million Texans will travel at least 50 miles over the three-day weekend.

The estimate is 7% higher than last year's travel rate and slightly above 2019's travel rate.

"You see more people feeling confident about wanting to get out and travel, not only for Memorial Day but it's looking like it's going to take through for the entire summer," AAA Texas spokesperson Daniel Armbruster said.

AAA associates the surge with lower gas prices and inflation rates. As of Friday morning, the average price for regular fuel in Texas was $3.13. One year ago, the average was $4.26.

Roads over the holiday are set to be the busiest they have been since 2005, when 3.6 million Texans traveled.

Texas DPS is planning to ramp up enforcement over the weekend to prevent speeding, drunk driving and seat belt violations.

During Memorial Day weekend 2022, the department arrested nearly 200 people on DWI charges and issued nearly 67,000 other citations and warnings.

DPS Sgt. Ryan Howard is encouraging drivers to be extra vigilant in the coming days.

"Look out for those wrong-way drivers, people just driving recklessly, running stop signs, and if you feel they're impaired, you can always call and we can check in on that person," Howard said.

DPS is also reminding drivers to move over for emergency vehicles or slow down at least 20 miles per hour.