FLORENCE COUNTY, S.C. (WBTW) — The holiday weekend is just around the corner, and travelers are hitting the roads.
Last Independence Day weekend there were more than 1,000 crashes, leading to 500 people hurt and 15 dead, according to data from the South Carolina Highway Patrol.
“In the past couple years, there has been an uptick in the number of traffic fatalities we have been seeing on the roadways,” Lance Cpl. Tyler Tidwell said.
He said the leading causes of those deaths were people driving too fast for the condition, people driving under the influence and drivers failing to yield the right of way.
Tidwell urged holiday travelers not to drive drunk and to stop for a rest if they have driven for too long.
For drivers like Tim Murphy, who hauled his camper from Florida to Vermont, frequent stops are a must. He said there was no way he could make the trip in one go.
“I think it’s going to take about 20 or 22 hours,” Murphy said. “Drove up to Jacksonville, rested there, then made it here so far.”
Tidwell said it is also important to take care of a car’s maintenance before hitting the road to avoid getting stuck.
“I had some brake work done, had them rotate the tires, check the inflation, change the oil,” Gregg Worley, who drove from Atlanta to Myrtle Beach, said. “Just trying to be safe and carry some kids to a softball tournament.”
Drivers said the traffic wasn’t too bad Thursday, but the cost of gas was a different story.
“One of the reasons I bought this truck is it’s got a 50 gallon tank,” Murphy said. “But that means it costs $250 to fill it.”
The already high gas prices are set to go up by two cents a gallon tomorrow thanks to the South Carolina’s annual gas tax increase.
Murphy said he plans to power through the state on his return trip without stopping for gas.
“We use an app on the phone to see which states are more or less,” he said. “We enjoy the driving, but this huge increase in fuel is certainly crazy. We could take a plane for less.”
The tax will be used to pay for road and bridge construction. Residents can claim the credit on their tax returns.