Drivers are more active than ever, survey finds

By: Eric Czarnik | Sterling Heights Sentry | Published September 20, 2016

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METRO DETROIT — It might not be your imagination if you’ve been clocking more miles lately on your odometer, or if you’ve been seeing more vehicles on the road.

According to the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety’s American Driving Survey, Americans collectively drove about 2.45 trillion miles in 2015, beating 2014’s total by about 2.4 percent. The time behind the wheel exceeded 290 hours for the average driver.

The survey added that among the regions of the country where people drive the most, Midwesterners and Southerners tend to drive more than Northeasterners. 

AAA also said the fall months of October through December are the most active driving times of the year, with daily mileage racking up at around 31.5 miles. The winter months, or January through March, make up the least active driving season, with daily travel typically amounting to 26.2 miles, the auto agency added.

Gary Bubar, public affairs specialist from AAA Michigan, said he doesn’t see local commutes as getting worse, but he attributes more vehicles on the road to several factors.

“More people are working, the economy is up, gas prices are down, and more people were vacationing during summertime than had been,” he said. 

However, Bubar warned that increased traffic volumes may bring an increased likelihood of accidents, injuries or deaths on the road. To lessen risks, he urged drivers to keep a safe distance from other vehicles in order to avoid rear-end collisions. Also, he said motorists should scan intersections before crossing them, and they should never run a red light.

“The simplest thing is to give yourself more time to get to where you need to go and recognize that there are more folks on the road than have been in recent years,” he said.

Diane Cross, spokeswoman for the Michigan Department of Transportation, said freeway commute circumstances vary depending on the time of day, with rush hours happening between 6 and 9 a.m. and between 3 and 6 p.m. Avoiding the rush hours may somewhat ease a long commute, she said.

Construction or accident chokepoints may also be avoided by checking traffic patterns in advance through MDOT’s Mi Drive app or by visiting www.michigan.gov/drive. 

“Check by county or route to see MDOT roads, which are those beginning with I, M, or US,” she said.

Find out more about AAA Michigan by visiting www.michigan.aaa.com. Visit the Michigan Department of Transportation website at www.michigan.gov/mdot.

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