Technology and travel apps can get drivers on the right track over the Memorial Day weekend, but there's no guarantee they'll solve all the problems with higher gasoline prices and 3 million Texans.
Sticker shock is broken from across the country, as the average price for a gallon of unleaded lasting hit $ 2.76 Thursday, 6 cents more than a week ago and 58 cents more than the same day last year, according to AAA Texas / New Mexico, the auto club. Motorists in Midland, in the heart of the oil field, pay the most, averaging $ 3.06 per gallon.
The Texas Department of Transportation is doing what it can, planning no additional work-related closures over the weekend and installing temporary signs that alert travelers to traffic conditions.
Then there are smartphones, GPS systems and free travel apps that can enhance the ride to see friends, relatives or attractions.
If a travel app gives the option, it's best to choose the preference for the fastest route, not the shortest, said JR Rivera, commercial director at Pep Boys in Waco. Stop-and-go back roads could make a shorter route take longer, Rivera said.
"Fast is the best," he said. "The shortest can have 1
AAA offers a free travel app for smartphones, said spokesman Daniel Armbruster.
"It has a feature that lets you know the cheapest gas in your area, so you do not have to drive around and search everywhere," said Armbruster. "Everyone has their favorite gas station, but driving in an unknown location can really save money, and I often use it myself."
Chris Evilia, Managing Director of the Waco Metropolitan Planning Organization, tracks traffic patterns as part of his work. When he travels, he uses the capabilities of his smartphone, which evolve, said Evilia.
"If I'm going a considerable distance, I'll consult my device before I go and work out alternative routes," says Evilia. "There are challenges, however, as some systems choose the shortest routes, but not necessarily the most appropriate ones, and they can be routed on residential roads that are not designed for heavy traffic, and especially no trucks."
Drivers around bottlenecks and construction, Evilia said they could prove priceless. But if everyone uses the same escape route, they could get even more traffic jams if they are routed to roads that are not designed for heavy traffic.
"Fortunately, many apps are so sophisticated that they can detect and offer the clogging alternative to the alternative," said Evilia.
Travelers should exercise extra care by widening a 21-mile Interstate 35 between Temple and Bruceville-Eddy, as barriers and detours remain, said TxDOT spokeswoman Jodi Wheatley.
The public can access updates to the I-35 Terms and Conditions at www.my35.org/central, a web site that also includes instructions to sign up to receive text messages and warnings from TxDOT, said Wheatley.
Armbruster, with AAA, said higher gasoline prices apparently do not suit Texan's home-bounds.
"Motorcycle travel will be the fourth year in a row to increase nearly 5 percent over the last day of remembrance," he said, citing AAA polls. "The 88 percent of travelers who choose to drive are paying the most expensive Memorial Day gas prices since 2014. Gasoline prices are rising, mainly due to expensive crude oil, record gasoline consumption and declining global supply."
Lower prices for air fares and cars According to a press release from AAA, rents should make up for higher gas prices.
According to the AAA Leisure Travel Index, air fares are 7 percent lower than last Memorial Day and end up at an average price of $ 168 for a round trip 40 domestic routes. At $ 59, AAA's average daily rate of renting a car of this Memorial Day is the lowest in the last four years.