Despite high gas prices, nearly 600,000 South Carolina residents and 1.2 million North Carolina residents are expected to travel on Memorial Day weekend, according to AAA Carolinas, an affiliate of the American Automobile Association.
“A strong economy and growing consumer confidence are giving Carolinians the motivation they need to kick off what we expect to be a busy summer travel season with a Memorial Day getaway," said Tiffany Wright, AAA Carolinas spokesperson.
Residents will be traveling despite seeing the most expensive Memorial Day gas prices since 2014, AAA reports. The average price of a gallon of gas in North Carolina is $2.78 a gallon, a 57-cent increase from this time last year.
Gas on average is $2.65 a gallon in South Carolina, a 60-cent increase from Memorial Day weekend last year. The average price in Rock Hill on Wednesday was $2.63 a gallon, a 7-cent increase from last week.
"However, these higher prices are not keeping holiday travelers home, with automobile travel expected to increase for the fourth straight year," according to AAA Carolinas.
The top travel destinations for North and South Carolina residents by car include Myrtle Beach; Orlando, Fla.; and Asheville, N.C., AAA reports.
Memorial Day weekend marks the beginning of the "100 Deadliest Days," a period when traffic deaths have historically risen.
In 2017, there were 1,008 collisions resulting in 501 injuries and 12 fatalities in South Carolina, according to AAA. In North Carolina, there were 1,768 collisions, 918 injuries and 10 fatalities.
“We urge everyone to practice safe behaviors behind the wheel. Eliminate distractions, don’t drink and drive, and don’t speed,” Wright said in the statement.
The National Weather Service in Greenville-Spartanburg predicts showers and thunderstorms in the Rock Hill area on Memorial Day with an 80 percent chance of rain and a high of 82 degrees. Monday night is predicted to be cloudy, with a 50 percent chance of rain and a low of 69 degrees.