COVID-19 No Longer the Biggest Concern for Many Travelers

The latest installment of Longwoods International’s ongoing American Travel Sentiment Study indicates that record-high gas prices and soaring airfare costs have overtaken pandemic-related concerns for consumers as the summer travel season approaches.

According to the study, one-third of travelers said that gas prices will greatly affect their travel plans over the next six months, while one-quarter reported that the soaring price of plane tickets will impact them in a similar way.


Only 19 percent of respondents said the COVID-19 pandemic now stands to greatly influence their travel decisions for the same timeframe.

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“Inflation, high gas prices, and generally rising costs are front of mind for travelers this summer season,” remarked Amir Eylon, President and CEO of Longwoods International. “However, competing with these concerns is the strong pent-up demand for post-pandemic travel, so the impact of prices may be somewhat muted by that surge in demand.”

Nine out of ten U.S. travelers now report that they’re planning on taking trips within the next six months, representing a complete rebound to trip-planning recorded prior to the start of the pandemic.

And, the 19 percent of survey participants who indicated that COVID-19 will heavily impact their travel plans for the next six months actually represents the smallest portion of respondents who’ve said the same since March 2020.

Longwoods began tracking travel consumer sentiment in the U.S. at the start of the pandemic and has continued to release updated survey findings and analyses on a bi-weekly basis.

The full results of its Wave 61 Travel Sentiment Study are available for download here.

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Filling up at a gas station. (Photo via rclassenlayouts / iStock / Getty Images Plus)

Supported by Miles Partnership, the survey was fielded on May 11, 2022, using a randomly-selected national sample of 1,000 adult American consumers, ages 18 and over. Quotas for age, gender and region were applied to match U.S. Census targets, rendering the results representative of the U.S. population as a whole.

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WNBA 2022 opening night – Biggest surprises and takeaways as the season tips off

The 2022 WNBA season tipped off Friday night with four action-packed games.

In the first, the Washington Mystics notched a 14-point win over the Indiana Fever. Then, the 2021 defending champions Chicago Sky fell 98-91 in overtime to the Los Angeles Sparks after a controversial foul call with 1.5 seconds left in regulation helped force overtime.

Later in the night, the Las Vegas Aces cracked triple digits, defeating the Phoenix Mercury — opening their season without Brittney Griner, who has been detained in Russia since February — 106-88. And the Seattle Storm christened their new home court at Climate Pledge Arena in style, with a 23-point win against the Minnesota Lynx.

ESPN’s Mechelle Voepel, Alexa Philippou and Kevin Pelton analyze each of the four games to open the season.

How Chicago lost to Los Angeles

It’s necessary to start with a caveat here: Like most WNBA teams right now, neither squad was at full strength. The Sky were without Allie Quigley (knee) and 2021 Finals MVP Kahleah Copper (overseas). The Sparks were without Kristi Toliver (coaching in the NBA playoffs) and Katie Lou Samuelson (overseas). So it’s too soon to entirely overreact one way or another about either team.

That said, this was a nice win for the Sparks, who are looking to bounce back from a disappointing 2021 in which they missed the postseason for the first time in a decade. What may have been most surprising or notable about the performance was that it wasn’t the likes of prized free agency additions Liz Cambage and Chennedy Carter who moved the needle to beat the reigning champs. Cambage got in early foul trouble and didn’t score from the field until the second half, finishing with 12 points and four rebounds. Carter was limited to 12 minutes, although she was productive in that time with 12 points.

Nneka Ogwumike (19 points, seven rebounds, three steals, two assists) dominated the first half — great news for L.A. after she dealt with a knee injury last season — while Jordin Canada, who won two titles with Seattle before signing with the Sparks this past offseason, carried the team across the finish line with a team-high 21 points and eight assists. Lexie Brown‘s clutch shooting (4-for-5 on 3s) kept the momentum from entirely shifting in Chicago’s favor. Chiney Ogwumike played 19 minutes and had some nice moments, and Brittney Sykes, who said she worked in the offseason on bringing back her offensive swagger, was also a difference-maker at times on both ends. Overall, that sort of depth will serve the Sparks well, especially if better luck with health is on their side this year.

It certainly didn’t look like a finished product, and I’m curious to see how Derek Fisher continues to tinker with lineups, especially once Toliver and Samuelson are back. Another storyline to watch will be how quickly Cambage (who finished -3, the second worst mark on the team) can find her footing, and how the Sparks can put her, and the Ogwumikes around her, in the best position to succeed.

Chicago did a lot of things that put itself in position to win the game, and barring a controversial foul call with 1.5 seconds to play, would have come away with the W. Afterwards, players and James Wade said they thought they were just gassed in overtime, which contributed to their turnover problem (25 vs. L.A.’s 22 on the game). Emma Meesseman stuffed the stat sheet with 12 points, five assists and eight rebounds, but it was obvious she’s still getting used to her new teammates and system. Her continued comfort will certainly be something to watch, including as Copper and Quigley re-insert themselves into the lineup, too.

And how about Dana Evans? I did not have her scoring a career-high (and team-best) 24 points on my bingo card, but hey, that’s why you play the game. — Alexa Philippou



Sue Bird sends a full-court pass to Jewell Loyd, who finishes the shot plus the foul.

Seattle’s depth came through against Minnesota

SEATTLE — On a historic night where the Storm returned to the Seattle Center campus for the first time since 2018, making their regular-season debut at newly rebuilt Climate Pledge Arena, the reigning Commissioner’s Cup champions delivered a performance worthy of their modern new home. Seattle outscored the visiting Minnesota Lynx 34-14 in the third quarter, turning a tie game at halftime into a 97-74 rout.

Like the building, the Storm’s supporting cast underwent a makeover after the team was eliminated in the second round of the playoffs without injured star Breanna Stewart last season. Seattle traded for starting small forward Gabby Williams and added veterans Briann January and Jantel Lavender to the bench, hoping to reduce the team’s dependence on its three All-Stars (Stewart, Sue Bird and Jewell Loyd).

On the eve of the opener, Bird argued the additions made the Storm the deepest team in the league. The second unit looked the part Friday, carrying Seattle through a poor-shooting first half for Stewart (2-of-10). With all three stars on the bench, the Storm rallied to tie the game in the second quarter.

By contrast, Minnesota’s depth was compromised by the absence of four key players: Napheesa Collier (pregnant), Damiris Dantas (working back from a Lisfranc injury), Kayla McBride (still playing abroad in Turkey) and Angel McCoughtry (who underwent a PRP injection earlier in the week). The Lynx had just nine players in uniform, one of whom, Serbian rookie Nikolina Milic, had never practiced with the team before making her WNBA debut on a hardship contract.

The absences left Minnesota heavily dependent on the duo of Sylvia Fowles and Aerial Powers, who were up to the task in the first half. Powers had 14 and Fowles 12 to account for 63% of the team’s scoring. Yet Seattle was able to contain them after halftime, and the game flipped in a hurry. The Lynx had more turnovers (seven) than field goals (five) in the third quarter.

Meanwhile, the Storm’s stars were making their presence felt at the other end. Loyd and Bird combined for 17 of the team’s 34 points in the period and hooked up on a highlight when Bird lobbed the ball from well beyond half court to Loyd, who finished the alley-oop with a layup for a three-point play. The assist was one of nine on the night for Bird, who finished one shy of a double-double in 22 minutes to begin her 19th and likely final WNBA season.

Friday’s game was a reminder that as long as Bird, Loyd and Stewart are healthy, the Storm will be tough to beat. If Seattle continues to get the kind of production that the bench offered in the season opener — three reserves scored at least nine points, with January and Stephanie Talbot combining for six assists and five blocks — this team is capable of hanging another banner in the rafters of the new arena. — Kevin Pelton



Kelsey Plum blows by the defense to score for the Aces.

Aces, absences too much for Phoenix to overcome

On an opening night when the Mercury’s thoughts were on Brittney Griner, they also missed their star center on the court.

In a 106-88 loss to visiting Las Vegas that provided the Aces’ Becky Hammon with her coaching victory, the Mercury were far from their best defensively without Griner and Brianna Turner, their top rim protectors, plus guards Diamond DeShields and Kia Nurse. DeShields and Turner have been playing overseas but are expected back soon, while Nurse is rehabbing a knee injury suffered during the playoffs last October.

“We have some important players coming in for our next game that I’m sure will help us,” said Vanessa Nygaard in her debut as the Mercury’s coach. “I have to be better. And we’ll all continue to improve.”

Guard Skylar Diggins-Smith picked up where she left off last season, leading the Mercury with 25 points. Shey Peddy had 16 and Tina Charles 15. Diana Taurasi, starting her 18th WNBA season, had nine points and nine assists.

“They shot the hell out of the ball tonight,” Diggins-Smith said of the Aces’ 58.2% shooting from the field. “We know we’ve got to get better. We’re missing some pieces.” The Mercury staff and players wore warm-up T-shirts that read, “We Are BG 42.”

U.S. representative Greg Stanton of Arizona, a longtime Mercury fan who was mayor of Phoenix when Griner was drafted in 2013, attended Friday’s game. Stanton told ESPN that the decision earlier this week by the U.S. government to classify Griner as “wrongly detained” was an important step in the effort to get her out of Russia.

“That allows for significant additional action by the United States’ state department and the special envoy to get much more actively involved,” Stanton said. “No one is operating under any false hope here … this is going to be very difficult negotiations and discussions. I know in Congress, we’re going to do everything we can do to help bring Brittney Griner home, and we’re going to keep pushing the administration.

“I was lucky to help greet her at the very first press conference when she was introduced as our first pick. It’s been a great joy to watch the professional and personal development of Brittney. I’ve marched with her in a gay pride parade. My wife and she worked together on anti-bullying efforts. I’ve seen her blossom as a leader in this community. We need to get her home.” — Mechelle Voepel



Shakira Austin gets the and-1 reverse layup to fall as the Mystics pad their lead vs. the Fever.

Rookies showed out for Washington and Indiana

As happy as the Mystics were to have Elena Delle Donne back for Friday’s season-opening 84-70 victory over Indiana, they also wanted to see how their draft lottery pick did in her first WNBA game.

Center Shakira Austin, whom the Mystics took with the No. 3 selection in April’s draft, didn’t have big numbers — three points, three rebounds and one block — but showed promise, according to coach Mike Thibault.

“She didn’t finish some shots around the basket; I think that’s going to come with some time,” Thibault said after the game. “She kind of rushed herself a little bit today. But I thought she really defensively bothered them. I think this was a good initial game for her.”

Austin began her college career at Maryland but then transferred to Ole Miss, where she averaged 15.2 points and 9.0 rebounds this past season. With Delle Donne not traveling to Minnesota for Sunday’s game due to load management, the 6-foot-5 Austin will have a test against veteran star center Sylvia Fowles of Minnesota.

“She played big minutes on defense,” Delle Donne said of Austin. “She just makes the game easier for us because she creates more opportunities when she’s getting second-chance rebounds. When she’s attacking, we’re really good.

“Defensively, she’s just so long. So even when she’s in a ball-screen, she smothers guards. And her ability to get back and recover is also really impressive. And just how much you see her wanting to get better.”



Elena Delle Donne makes a beautiful inside move for the Mystics’ bucket.

Austin wasn’t the only lottery pick on the floor on Friday night, though: No. 2 NaLyssa Smith and No. 4 Emily Engstler, both forwards, were also in action for Indiana. Smith, a standout from Baylor, had 13 points and 13 rebounds to start her WNBA career, while Engstler had four and nine, respectively. Center Queen Egbo, the No. 10 pick in the draft, had 10 points and six rebounds for the Fever, who are expected to rely a lot on their young players — which includes Destanni Henderson and Lexie Hull — this season.

Guard Crystal Dangerfield, a third-year player, who was the rookie of the year for Minnesota in 2020, was cut by the Lynx this past week, but wasn’t out of action for long. The Fever added her to their roster, and she had five points and two assists Friday. — Voepel

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Is The Tip Of The U.P. Michigan’s Biggest Island?

Michigan is known for its upper and lower peninsulas. For many people there is a running joke about the U.P. being a part of Canada or Wisconsin, but what many people don’t know about upstate Michigan is that the tip of the Peninsula is actually an island. While both Peninsulas are home to thousands of islands, this northernmost point of Michigan might be home to the biggest hidden island of them all. 

Michigan’s Biggest Known Island: 

Isle Royale is located in Lake Superior and is considered the largest island in Michigan. Isle Royale is so much more than just an island of 206 square miles, its history and preservation as a National Park has helped further scientific research and understanding since 1959. Untouched by man due to its isolation, Isle Royale provided us with the rare opportunity to see how evolution without human involvement would play out.

The majority of research focuses on the complex dynamic between the wolves and moose populations on the island. This observation research project is considered to focus on the oldest questions in ecology: Is nature understood best due to the predictable ‘law-like’ patterns that is displayed through animal tasks and behavior, or is nature best understood for its history and being able to evolve no matter the events it faces? With research, shipwrecks and mysteries Isle Royale has been a must stop for visitors of Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, no matter what tour or path you choose to take on the island you’re bound for some excitement. However, with all of the wonders of this island, is it REALLY Michigan’s largest island in the entire state? 

Fun Fact: Isle Royale is the largest island within the world’s largest body of fresh-water, Lake Superior. 

Keweenaw Peninsula Becomes Michigan’s Largest Island 

Keweenaw County is Michigan’s northernmost, and least populous, county in the state of Michigan. It is perhaps best known for being the gateway to Isle Royale National Park and its research center. Derived from the Ojibwa word meaning “the crossing place”, the Keweenaw Peninsula has been used as a travel and resource point for all sorts of goods and services that need to pass through Whitefish Point on the eastern end of the Peninsula. Though, is the tip of the Upper Peninsula hiding something from Michigan’s residents? 

Though this area of land is widely known as the Keweenaw Peninsula, it is technically an island due to the dividing path of the Portage Canal. In fact, many people consider Michigan Technological University part of Keweenaw County, but because of where it lies on the Portage Canal it makes up Houghton County. Across the small lift bridge is Hancock, which is the beginning of Keweenaw ‘Island’. As someone who lived in this area for many years, Houghton and Hancock very much feel like one town together but the bridge really makes the difference (especially when getting stuck at the lift when on your way to work or class).  

What is so interesting about this waterway that creates an island within the peninsula, is the fact that part of it was manmade. What would have eventually turned into a canal after a few hundred years, the fjord that is now Portage Canal had the last half mile dredged out in the 1860’s to officially separate the tip of the U.P.; making it Michigan’s largest island. Copper country is full of surprises! 

Having experienced the peninsula turned island first hand, I strongly recommend visiting Keweenaw County and all of the beautiful sights it has to offer. Make sure to stop by the Jam Lady on your way to Copper Country! 

Don’t Call Yourself A Yooper Unless You’ve Been To These Michigan Upper Peninsula Places

It can almost be looked at as a different state entirely, while encompassing everything beautiful about Michigan. There are some spots that are truly breathtaking, and if you’ve never planned a trip to the upper peninsula, make sure you’re comfortable with long drives.

Hidden Gems of Michigan’s Upper Peninsula

No matter what you’re into – dining, boating, hunting, outdoor sports, and everything in between, you’ll find something you’ll love in these small towns in Michigan’s Eastern Upper Peninsula.

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I’m a parenting expert and here is the biggest mistake you can make at the airport when travelling with kids

A PARENTING expert has revealed a top tip for a stress-free airport experience when travelling with young children.

Sophie Pickles, a parenting coach and early years expert told Munchkin her top tips for stress-free flying with young children.

How you pack can make your time at airport security much faster and easier


How you pack can make your time at airport security much faster and easierCredit: Getty

And packing your child’s liquids in a separate and easily accessible bag will save valuable time at security checks.

She said: “Pack any breast milk, formula or kid liquids like Calpol or medicine in a separate lunchbox or cooler bag and clip it onto your hand luggage and put it through security separately.

“These are things they will always check at security so this way you avoid them having to join a separate queue for them to check your whole bag.”

According to the government website, parents are allowed to take unlimited baby food and breast milk into the cabin, as long as each container is no bigger than 2l.

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However, frozen breast milk is not allowed, and the family must be travelling with a child to be allowed to take them on board.

Sophie also had some stellar advice for when feeding time arrives during a flight – as parents may not realise that flight crew can heat up breast milk on the plane.

She explained: “Make sure breast milk is at room temperature before you set off and serve it as is.

“Or if you prefer to serve warmed up, ask the flight attendant for a cup of warm water and either mix your formula with that, or if you’re using pump bags, pop them in the cup for a few minutes.”

If for some reason you can’t heat it up on the plane, a dad has a different piece of advice for a makeshift warmer.

Alex, 38, said: “We realised we could also ask for some hot water that they use to make tea and coffee in a separate cup.

“So we put the milk bottle in that for a few minutes and hey presto, warm milk.”

Try and time feeding times for take off and landing as well – Sophie added: “Breast or bottle feed during takeoff and landing to prevent little ears from popping.

“This will be easier to do if your little one is already sitting on your lap, which is often the case when they are under two years old.

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“Toddlers can use a sippy cup containing milk, water, or diluted juice to encourage them to keep drinking until you’re up in the air, or back down on the tarmac.”

Sun Online recently revealed the surprising kids items that you are banned from taking on a flight.

Happy Asian kid child girl playing with toy airplane. Travel, tourism and tourist concept.


Happy Asian kid child girl playing with toy airplane. Travel, tourism and tourist concept.Credit: Getty

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Calver tips Vietnam to regain status as golf travel's biggest noise – TravelDailyNews Asia-Pacific

Calver tips Vietnam to regain status as golf travel’s biggest noise  TravelDailyNews Asia-Pacific

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Calver tips Vietnam to regain status as golf travel’s biggest noise

Published on : Tuesday, April 19, 2022

Pre-pandemic the buzz about Vietnam’s golf courses was almost as loud as the motorbike horns that soundtrack daily life in major cities like Ho Chi Minh City and Hanoi.

And Adam Calver, director of golf at Laguna Golf Lang Co and a driving force in Vietnam Golf Coast — a destination marketing organization that links Central Vietnam’s best signature golf courses — has tipped the nation to become an even bigger noise in golf travel following its reopening to international visitors in March 2022.

“Asia’s top golf destination is not just recovering following the pandemic: it’s getting even better,” he said.

In recent years, Vietnam has forged a reputation as Asia’s ultimate bucket-list golf destination.

Big-name architects including Sir Nick Faldo (designer of Laguna Golf Lang Co), Jack Nicklaus, Greg Norman, and Robert Trent Jones Jr have made their mark with a string of incredible layouts the length and breadth of the Southeast Asian country.

Global accolades for the nation, meanwhile, including the coveted title of World’s Best Golf Destination at the 2021 World Golf Awards, fueled pent-up demand for travel during a period when Vietnam’s borders remained largely closed.

Nobody involved in Vietnam’s tourism industry expects visitor numbers to immediately bounce back to pre-pandemic levels. But golf industry insiders like Calver predict a bright future for clubs in Vietnam following the reopening, pointing to a growing contingent of layouts that are maintaining the country’s reputation for quality.

“A lot has been going on here (in Vietnam) during the pandemic,” said Calver. “New courses have been popping up all over the country so golfers who have visited Vietnam in the past have a number of new courses to experience when they return.

“For example, many golfers won’t have been in Central Vietnam since 2019. We already had five great championship courses here at that time. Now, with the addition of Hoiana Shores and the second course at BRG Danang Golf Resort (a Nicklaus design), we have seven.”

Like other layouts around the country, Laguna Golf Lang Co has been forced to contend with stern challenges posed by the pandemic over the course of the past couple of years. But the club, which recently ranked #88 on Golf World’s Top 100 Golf Resorts in the World list, is training its sights on a major resurgence over the coming months.

At Laguna Golf Lang Co, two award-winning resorts – Angsana Lang Co and Banyan Tree Lang Co as well as the ultra-luxe Banyan Tree Residences and the Laguna Park Golf Villas along the 18th hole just a hundred meters from the clubhouse and the beach – round out one of Asia’s most attractive stay/play packages. Indeed, the club is witnessing an uptick in bookings from various key international markets including Korea and Europe as well as from domestic travelers.

“Demand is surging here once again,” added Calver. “Before, I would have said that anyone serious about golf travel should be coming to Vietnam at least once in their life. With world-class courses opening all the time, I would revise that to say that you’d need to return every few years to do the place justice.”

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Travel seeing biggest revolution in a century

As the world undergoes a revolution in how we live and work, more people are blending everyday life with travel. The ability and desire to live and work from anywhere was once considered a short-lived opportunity at the beginning of the pandemic or something for young backpackers.

Now it’s a permanent reality for millions of working Americans.

“This revolution really is about flexibility. Suddenly you can live anywhere, you can work anywhere,” said Brian Chesky, CEO of Airbnb at Skift Global Forum on Travel. He believes that this massive adoption of remote work policies is driving the most significant change to travel since the start of commercial flying in 1914.

While 50-somethings and 30-somethings are currently leading the “live anywhere” trend, new remote-work policies at unprecedented levels mean that at least 36 million Americans have the potential to become digital nomads, according to Skift. Their calculations concluded that even if just six percent of the group chose to take more “workcations,” it would represent a $1 billion travel market.

Laptop luggers, or travelers who plan to work while away, planned twice as many trips over the 2021 holiday season. Companies are now vying for a share of their dollars as these spenders have an above-average buying power, were twice as likely to increase their vacation budget, and added three or more days onto their trip due to the option to remotely work.

While there have always been pockets of Americans who rented other people’s beach or lake houses, going on vacation and staying in a hotel has long been the norm. Hotels still account for most leisure lodging spending, but by the end of 2021, more than four in 10 travelers say they booked a private rental for the first time during the pandemic, and they say they plan to continue. About 75% of people who booked a private rental for the first time say they’ll do so again, citing longer trips, home-like amenities, and extra space to work.

Even though Americans have much less paid time off than other countries, previously, they weren’t even taking it all. U.S. workers leave an average of 29% of their paid time off on the table. That tune is now changing. Sixty-five percent of those who have a fixed number of paid-time-off days are planning to use more vacation and personal days moving forward.

Additionally, most Americans say they will take advantage of remote work policies by booking workcations, with parents even more likely to increase this combo-style of travel.

Workers are seizing their newfound location freedom, setting up an office anywhere with reliable Wi-Fi. Whether that’s from a room in a summer-long beach rental with their families or an Airbnb at a bucket-list beach destination across the globe. In the third quarter of 2021, 20% of all stays booked on Airbnb were for 28 days or longer, and long-term family stays grew 75% over the past two years.

“The promise of travel is freedom and flexibility,” Airbnb’s CEO said. It’s not a surprise that those are some of the forces behind The Great Resignation as well. People are realigning and redesigning their lives to match their priorities.

Working in an office got demoted while people simultaneously promoted travel in their lifestyle hierarchy. Priceline’s research found 72% enjoy not having to go into the office so they could work from different locations. A recent survey by The Pew Center found that 60% of workers with remote-possible jobs would like to continue work from home full or part-time permanently.

If you’re looking to attract or keep staff during The Great Resignation work, location flexibility is an absolute must. Nearly two-thirds of people surveyed by Deloitte say they have come to expect more flexibility from their employers.

In addition, Forbes reports that openings for remote jobs receive 2.5 times as many applications as other positions in the current job market.

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AAA’s biggest tip when driving in the rain: slow down

HUNTSVILLE, Ala. – Rainfall is expected this week across the Tennessee Valley, and with rain often comes difficult road conditions. AAA recommends those who can to stay off the roads.

But, for those who do not have that option AAA’s Clay Ingram says to slow the speed to prevent the potential for hydroplaning.

Ingram also suggests increasing travel distance between you and the vehicles in front of you to the length of 6-8 cars. That way, drivers will have more room to stop if they need to suddenly brake.

Another important rule of thumb, make sure your windshield wipers are in good shape. “You need to make sure that you have a good set of wiper blades on your vehicle,” Ingram explained. “Most sets of wiper blades only last 6-8 months and for most of us it’s been a while since we’ve changed them.”

Ingram also urges drivers to check their headlights as it is crucial to see and be seen by other drivers, especially in rainy conditions.

If flash flooding occurs and you see a road is blocked turn around and do not try to drive past it.

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DC's biggest snow since pandemic snarls traffic, shutters covid testing sites – The Washington Post

DC’s biggest snow since pandemic snarls traffic, shutters covid testing sites  The Washington Post

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