Gas prices, traffic and safety: What to keep in mind for your Labor Day travel plans

Virginia News

RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — This is the first Labor Day weekend since pandemic restrictions have been lifted across the state. Many people are taking advantage of the holiday and hitting the road. However, there are some things to keep in mind in order to avoid traffic and make sure you get to your destination safely.

Here are tips for spending more time enjoying your weekend than in traffic:

Holiday traffic

The Virginia Department of Transportation said it will suspend many highway work zones and lane closures from noon Friday, Sept. 3, through noon Tuesday, Sept. 7.

You can look at VDOT’s travel trends map for Labor Day Weekend to see when traffic has been the heaviest in years past. While the agency said it can’t predict traffic, it can help drivers anticipate the busiest periods of travel.

Gas prices

AAA is reporting that there could be a temporary spike in gas prices following Hurricane Ida.

“With Labor Day approaching, motorists could see a small swing towards higher gas prices, but any jump should not last past the holiday weekend,” said Jeanette Casselano, AAA spokesperson.

While Gasbuddy said gas prices are expected to be the highest they have been since 2014, and drivers expected to pay about 90 cents more than they did last year. The company said last year had the lowest gas prices since 2004 due to the pandemic lockdowns.

As of Friday, the national gas prices average is $3.18, and $2.97 in Virginia. Here are the average prices of select cities in the region:

  • Roanoke – $2.91
  • Charlotte, N.C. – $2.93
  • Raleigh, N.C. – $2.96
  • Richmond – $2.96
  • Virginia Beach – $2.96
  • Baltimore, MD – $2.97
  • Charleston, W.V. – $3.00
  • Washington, D.C. – $3.16
(Graphic: AAA)

You can use the app and website GasBuddy to find the cheapest gas near you, and calculate the cost of your weekend trip.

Safety Tips

With more people heading onto the road, VDOT is offering the following tips to stay safe on the roads this weekend:

  • Make sure all passengers wear seatbelts, and children’s car seats are properly secured.
  • Don’t leave children or pets in parked cars for any amount of time on hot days.
  • Use turn signals when you change lanes and leave a safe amount of space between the vehicle in front of you.
  • Don’t drive distracted.
  • If you drink make sure you have a designated driver.

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