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NORTH TEXAS (CBSDFW.COM) – According to AAA, a record 43 million Americans are expected to travel this Independence Day weekend — with most of them driving.

North Texans are already filling their gas tanks. Some 3.1 million Texans are predicted to travel this holiday weekend and 2.6 million of them will drive to their destinations. Friday morning, the flow of drivers coming in and out of the Fuel City gas station in downtown Dallas was a little heavier than usual.

AAA says the average gas price in Texas is $2.12 a gallon for regular unleaded fuel. That price is 46-cents less per gallon than last year.

“It definitely gives you more flexibility,” said driver Kasia Konopka, who plans on heading to Houston. “You definitely can go more places than you would otherwise.”

Summer just officially began a couple of weeks ago and, if data from the U.S. Energy Information Agency (U.S. EIA) is correct, this year’s summer driving season will likely set new records for both gasoline demand and vehicle miles traveled.

Of course, preparing for any type of lengthy road trip should involve more than just filing up your gas tank. AAA representative Doug Shupe said, “Inspecting a vehicle before a road trip can help drivers avoid common roadside delays, spend more time at their destinations, as well as get to their destinations and back home safe.”

AAA expects to rescue more than 370,000 motorists this holiday weekend for issues like dead batteries and flat tires.

In addition to making sure the vehicle being put on the road is operating properly, it’s also important to make sure the person getting behind the wheel has celebrated the holiday responsibly and is sober.

Troopers with the Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) will spend the extended weekend keeping an especially close eye out for drunk drivers, speeders and seat belt violators, among other things.

During the Fourth of July holiday last year, DPS troopers made nearly 500 DWI arrests and issued more than 7,000 speeding tickets.

As always, anyone planning to drink alcohol away from home should designate a sober driver, call for a ride from a transportation service or plan on staying overnight at his or her location.

In an effort to keep drunk drivers off the road, AAA Texas is again offering their free “Tipsy Tow” service. To stay safe and obey the law, drivers who have been drinking can call 800-222-4357 or 800-AAA-HELP for a free tow home of up to 10 miles.

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