CLARKSBURG W.Va. (WBOY) — While the Fourth of July weekend is a blast to many, you don’t want your travel plans to include any unwanted “fireworks” on the road.

Even though gas prices are still near an all-time high, AAA is expecting more people to travel more than 50 miles for their Fourth of July weekend plans compared to last year. It’s forecasting 42 million people to travel this upcoming weekend along with a lot of service calls.

“We’re expected to respond to over 446,000 roadside assistant calls over the independence day holiday season,” said AAA East Central Public and Community Relations Manager Tiffany Stanley.

More of those calls are expected to be minor issues, but she does suggest to “not ride your car on empty” and get stranded on the side of the road in the hot weather.

Looking locally, Harrison County Sheriff Robert Matheny said he’s noticed more incidents taking place over the holiday season.

“Any holiday there is an uptick. Fourth of July is one of them that we see more drinking and driving, alcohol-related incidents,” he said.

Matheny and Stanley stressed planning to have a ride home if you’re going to be drinking at any gathering.

“This day and age, there is no excuse for getting behind the wheel drunk, so my message is to find a designated driver. Use alternative transportation and do not drive,” Methany said.

Some of those alternatives:

  • Using a designated driver
  • Finding a ride-share app or taxi to take you home
  • Even staying the night at your party

Getting a DUI could prove to put a damper on your holiday spirit.

“Charges can add up to $10,000 and maybe even more, so it’s a very costly decision to get behind the wheel after drinking,” Stanley added.

Aside from having a plan for your ride home from a party, find a plan for your travels too.

“Make sure before you hit the road before you get anyway, take a full vehicle inspection,” Stanley said. “Even vehicles that are in the most tip-top shape can still experience problems on the roadside.”

Metheny added, “leave early, plan your route. Be aware and obey traffic laws and make sure your vehicle is in good operating condition. You want to arrive alive.”

AAA said that the best times to travel this upcoming weekend are as early as possible or after 9 p.m.