Record Number of People Traveling This Holiday Season

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DES MOINES, Iowa -- Wednesday marks the official start to the holiday travel season.

For the first time ever, more than one million people nationwide are expected to journey away from home. Nearly 1 in 3 Americans will travel, and Iowa State Patrol Sgt. Nathan Ludwig says weather isn’t the biggest factor in the spike in travel this year.

“Gas is at a $1.89 a gallon, which is unheard of in the last few years. We’re just prepared to have more troopers and more law enforcement on the road to adapt to more vehicles on the road,” Ludwig said.

The Iowa State Patrol reports that 2015 is ending safer than past years. The number of fatalities sits at a five-year low: 310 deaths have been reported on Iowa roads.

Ludwig said troopers want to keep that number as low as possible. He said Iowans can help keep it that way.

“Look ahead to where you're going, slow down, wear your seat belt, watch for distracted driving. And if you chose to drink, get a sober driver,” he said.

While most people will drive to their holiday destinations, lower airfares have more travelers flying to see family and friends.

“Going through security, it didn't take very long. I thought it was going to be a lot be worse,” said Thomas Wojan.

The best advice likely comes from seasoned travelers.

“Allow a little extra time no matter what, because there's people everywhere. But just stay calm and enjoy your holidays,” said Jessica Rotole.

The state patrol will have more troopers out on Iowa roads over the next week.

One thing authorities want Iowans to remember is the two second rule -- leave that much space between you and the car in front of you, especially as the rain turns to snow and ice Wednesday evening.