For Palm Springs area locals who are eager to escape the heat and tourists expected to journey to the desert for Fourth of July, here are some tips to ensure your safe, efficient travels.
Hit the road early
Terri Kasinga, chief public information officer for Caltrans District 8, said hitting the road before 10 a.m. will help prevent any delays on travel plans.
- Plan on hitting the road at 6 a.m., 7 a.m., or 8 a.m., right before peak traffic hits.
- You’ll join 2.41 million other Southern California residents who are expected to drive this weekend, so remember to be patient on the road.
- The only time travelers should expect inescapable traffic is on the evening of July 4 on both Interstate 10 and Highway 111 in the westbound direction, specifically toward Los Angeles.
- Although Kasinga admits an alternative to taking I-10 is Route 40, which runs parallel to I-10, she does not suggest this route for travelers. Instead, she advises drivers to bite the bullet and use I-10 and Highway 111.
Road work hiatus
There will be a moratorium on all road work starting Friday, July 1 at 6 a.m. to Tuesday, July 5 at 6 p.m., meaning less traffic delays for auto travelers.
Despite the hiatus, still consider the following during holiday weekend travel:
- There is pavement work on I-10 off of Desert Center by Chiriaco Summit and near Route 177.
- No road closures are expected during this moratorium, with the exception of emergency situations. In this case, road closures might result in traffic delays.
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Driving in hot conditions
Travelers must remember that driving in desert regions requires some extra preparation or maintenance to ensure safe travels.
The American Automobile Association, or AAA, suggests the following to be prepared for driving in hot conditions:
- Check tires for uneven wear or excessive tread wear and make sure all tires, including the spare, are properly inflated.
- Inspect antifreeze/coolant level and condition.
- Inspect and replace worn or cracked belts as well as hoses that are worn, cracked, blistered, brittle, or too soft.
- Check engine oil level and condition.
- Test and replace old or weak batteries.
- Check transmission fluid for proper level and condition.
- Inspect brake fluid for proper level and condition.
- Inspect power steering for proper level and condition.
The Auto Club Automotive Research Center Manager Megan McKernan said more than 370,000 motorists are expected to be rescued during Independence Day weekend for dead batteries, flat tires and being locked out of their cars.
Lower gas prices equal cheaper travel
For travelers who opted to travel by air for the holiday weekend, they might have less of an arduous journey – cheaper too.
- Due to the lower gas prices, currently averaging $3 a gallon in Southern California, air travelers might also experience lower cost average airfares, according to Automobile Club of Southern California.
- AAA predicts 375,000 Southern California residents will travel by air this weekend, which is an increase from 364,000 air travelers last year.
For a list of flight departures out of Palm Springs International Airport for Independence Day weekend, visit http://www.palmspringsca.gov/home/showdocument?id=43762.