Safety is a big concern for AAA Carolinas, which is expecting a large number of traffic incidents for state and national motorists during the five-day Memorial Day weekend.


According to a AAA Carolinas press release, South Carolina is expected to have 451,550 vacationing motorists – the most Memorial Day motorists on the road since 2005 – traveling the roads during the holiday. The number equals a 1.8 percent increase over the last year, which officials believe will also increase the traffic incidents.


In fact, Memorial Day weekend marks the beginning of the 100 deadliest days of driving for teens. Nationally, the weekend averages more than 400 traffic deaths overall and 42,000 significant injuries per year, according to the press release.


Last year, 13 people died on South Carolina roadways during the holiday season and 14 died in North Carolina. The numbers marked the deadliest Memorial Day totals for South Carolina in six years and the deadliest for North Carolina in four years.


An overall total of 514,000 South Carolinians are expected to travel more than 50 miles from home this year, with the top drive destinations being Myrtle Beach; Charlotte, North Carolina; Gatlinburg, Tennessee; and Williamsburg, Virginia.


“Holiday trips are about getting away, and it is not a time to become stressed behind-the-wheel,” wrote David E. Parsons, president and CEO of AAA Carolinas. “Relax by making sure your car is ready for the trip, be mentally prepared for traffic delays you may encounter on the way to your destination and take a rest break every couple of hours to remain mentally alert.”


The average price of gas is expected to stay elevated as it has over the last couple of months, according to fuelgaugereport.com.


Nationally, the average price of gas was $3.64 as of Wednesday afternoon. South Carolina has still stayed well below the national average at $3.46 per gallon. The Augusta-Aiken market has an average price of $3.50 per gallon.


Derrek Asberry is a beat reporter with the Aiken Standard. He joined the paper in June.