Navigating the Memorial Day weekend rush

Memorial Day weekend is nearly upon us, and for many that means it’s time to grab a neck pillow, some snacks and tune those radios for one of the most traveled periods of the year, especially by car.

AAA expects 36.1 million people to journey 50 miles or more this weekend, the most since 2005. Kansas roads will be no exception to all the bustle, so here are a few quick facts to keep in mind if you hit the road:

• As of Thursday morning, AAA reported gas prices in Lawrence rested at $3.48 per gallon, down 40 cents from last year. Kansas City sports a price of $3.46, and Topeka, $3.36. The state of Kansas, as well as all four of its bordering neighbors, placed in the top 10 for gas price decreases during the past year.

• Thunderstorms are expected to haunt the Lawrence area and beyond for much of the weekend. According to the National Weather Service, the best bet for no rain in Lawrence is Sunday, with a 40 percent chance. The likelihood of storms for the rest of Kansas will float around 50 percent, before falling below 40 in the west after Sunday. The Lake of the Ozarks area in Missouri also has a chance for storms every day of the long weekend. For all these areas, high temperatures will consistently reach into the 80s.

• Of all the vacationers nationally, 88 percent are expected to travel by car. James Hanni, an AAA spokesperson, said in Kansas the rate is slightly higher, at 88.4 percent.

• Hanni recommends Kansas drivers use a phone system and webpage from the Kansas Department of Transportation to plan their routes. Travelers can dial 5-1-1 in Kansas (1-866-511-KDOT in other states), or visit for information on road conditions. The mobile-based website can be found at