CHARLOTTE, N.C. - When you travel on a holiday weekend, to be early is to be on time. Renee Kimbrell showed up to Charlotte-Douglas International Airport four hours before her flight to Miami.
"Normally we do before the Fourth or after the Fourth, but this one just happened to be this week," she said. "Miami first, then we're hitting a cruise ship. We're going on Norwegian," she beamed.
Friday is expected to be the busiest of what is predicted to be the biggest July 4th travel weekend ever. AAA reports 44 million people are expected to go more than 50 miles from home this weekend. That is a 2.9% jump from last year.
The airports were really busy, people were in good spirits though," said Bob Dean of Providence. Dean's travel plans weren't all pleasure. He is taking his son Nick to High Point University for a summer session.
"We usually don't do air travel for Fourth of July, being from Providence we usually go to Cape Cod, and we're usually in the car getting stuck in the Cape Cod crawl," he laughed.
However, there is a Charlotte crawl too. Traffic on I-85 crept along Friday afternoon as folks tried to get out of town.
"Not a holiday for us," said State Trooper Ray Pierce.
Pierce said accidents were already a problem Friday and that's a sign that the weekend could be busy.
"As traffic increases, our call volume goes up. If it stays like this it will be a long weekend," he said.
Pierce says it will be all hands on deck with the North Carolina State Police. Troopers will be looking out for speeding and aggressive driving.
He also says there will be random DUI checkpoints all weekend long. Pierce says drivers worried about holiday surge pricing on an UBER trip might want to think twice.
"The cost of being arrested for driving while impaired far outweighs the cost of an UBER or a cab," Pierce declared.
You can call *47 if you see a disabled driver or anything you want to report to NC Highway Patrol.