As the normally-busy 4th of July holiday weekend approaches, for a lot of people, the price of gas is affecting whether or not they even hit the road to go anywhere. But for those that do, it's even affecting how long they try to go without filling up the tank. It's not just stubborn husbands thinking "we'll be fine", either.

As of this writing, the current cost of gas is an average of $4.60 a gallon, compared to $2.92 at this time last year, according to KCRG. If there's "good" news, that's down from a record high just two weeks ago. But according to the Iowa Department of Transportation (DOT), emergency road calls are up 200 percent this year. They say it's directly related to gas costs--as in, drivers running out of it. The statistics don't lie, in this DOT chart posted by KCRG:

KCRG/Iowa Department of Transportation
KCRG/Iowa Department of Transportation
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It's definitely got drivers adjusting their habits. The DOT has something to help in this regard, and it's called the Highway Helper.  According to their website:

The Highway Helper program provides incident response and free assistance to stranded motorists on the roadways in the Des Moines, Council Bluffs, Cedar Rapids/Iowa City and Quad Cities metros.

The Highway Helper patrols those areas and will provide services like free jump starts, tire changes, transportation to a safe location--and even a quick two gallons of fuel to tide you over. So the bottom line is, you better not run out of gas in the middle of nowhere, I guess.

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The Highway Helper has two five-gallon gas tanks specifically to disperse to drivers who need enough just to get to the next gas station. I wouldn't necessarily suggest waiting until you run out of gas to obtain the services of the Highway Helper, but if you need it, drivers can call 911 and it will be dispatched.

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