AAA offers last-minute advice for travelers

Posted at 5:33 PM, Nov 24, 2015
and last updated 2015-11-24 19:33:27-05

A tasty meal with friends and family, low gas prices, and perhaps the busiest roads for this holiday going back to 2007 will greet the 202,000 Idahoans planning to drive to their Thanksgiving destination this year.

Just watch out for a blast of winter weather and the challenges it could bring, AAA advises.

Based on today’s numbers, Idahoans will pay an average $2.19 a gallon for gas, down 22 cents from a month ago and 88 cents less than a year ago. The U.S. average price is $2.06, down 75 cents from last Thanksgiving.

“Any way you look at it, lower gas prices continue to give motorists an early holiday gift and something to be grateful for,” said AAA Idaho spokesman Dave Carlson. “Cheap gas is not the only or even primary reason for the expected bump in travel this holiday, AAA says, though it certainly can enhance the mood of any get-together.”

The holiday byways will be marginally busier than a year ago, but for nearly 47 million American travelers, including 234,000 Idahoans expected to travel—by car, train, plane or bus—this is expected to be the busiest Thanksgiving going back to 2007. An improving economy, not cheaper gas per se, has more to do with the projected increase in travel volume.

Wet winter weather may be ahead

Motorists may encounter wet or snowy weather depending on their destinations and elevation changes in the West. AAA advises motorists to consult the state’s 511 travel information service before traveling to determine weather and road conditions. Go online to or call 511 for access to a menu of road closures, weather advisories or camera views of roads throughout the state.

Regional forecasts include colder temperatures, snow and rain this week. Snow accumulations are more likely at elevations above 5,500 feet earlier in the week, dropping later as a major winter storm moves through the region. Motorists should be prepared for seasonal conditions including wet, slick roads and cooler weather.

“Any trip through major mountain passes this time of the year may require traction devices and all-season or winter tires,” Carlson said. In addition, AAA advises motorists to carry a winter driving kit which can include jumper cables, a snow shovel, kitty litter or sand to regain traction, a flashlight with new batteries and blankets and cell phone that is fully charged. Call AAA for a list of other recommended items.

Get your car ready, too

AAA says it expects to answer 360,000 roadside requests in North America during the holiday period from Wednesday, November 25 through Sunday, November 29. The most common trouble codes are for batteries, tires and lockouts. Check or have a technician check the condition of any battery that is three years old or older.

Check tire tread and inflation for all tires, including spares, before you go. AAA also advises motorists to check all fluid levels, including oil, antifreeze, brake fluids, battery fluids, and windshield cleaner solvents.

Obey all traffic laws and signals and do not drink and drive, AAA said.

Drivers can also get point-to-point driving directions, gas station locations and prices, maps and aids before they go. Much of this information is available to the public via the AAA Mobile App.

If faced with roadside trouble, including a flat tire, AAA is available to help 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. AAA members can request assistance by calling (800) AAA-HELP, visiting or via the AAA Mobile App. To become a member, visit