By Pat Warren

BALTIMORE (WJZ) — Labor Day weekend is officially underway. Hundreds of thousands of Marylanders are hitting the road. With gas prices down and the economy up, it’s going to be one of the busiest yet.

Pat Warren has more.

AAA Mid-Atlantic has done its homework and finds that nearly three-quarters of a million Marylanders will be anywhere but home.

Road trip. It seems 728,000 Marylanders have the itch to travel and will cover 50 miles or more this weekend–87 percent of them by car and about eight percent by plane.

This is expected to be the third highest travel rate on record, with places to go.

“Yeah. I’m going to actually spend Labor Day with my sister that lives in Alexandria,” said Natasha Branch.

“My friend’s sweet 16 birthday party,” said another holiday traveler.

“This is actually consistent with what we’ve seen for the other holiday travel periods over the summer,” said Ragina Averella, AAA Mid-Atlantic.

The good news is gas prices are down from July by 17 cents a gallon and 15 cents cheaper than last year.

“I’m glad they’re coming down,” driver Gili Gueter said.

“I think they are getting better right now and I wish they would go down more,” said Morty Levin, driver.

The bad news is you could be burning up that savings in traffic jams and on sections of highways where construction is underway.

“You want to–if at all possible–check with Maryland Transportation Authority’s website to see if there are any travel delays,” Averella said.

Stay cool-headed and drive cold sober.

“Avoid driving distracted, avoid driving drowsy, avoid driving drunk,” said Averella.

And remember: this is the first weekend for the new Horseshoe Casino, Navy and Ohio State play at M&T Bank Stadium and the Orioles are at Camden Yards. Plan accordingly.

Don’t forget that recent changes at BWI Marshall could mean longer lines through airport security.

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