Cheers to the end of summer! resqme, Inc. wishes you a happy holiday weekend this Labor Day. We also remind you to stay safe on one of the busiest weekends on highways and roads this year. According to the National Safety Council, Labor Day Weekend is one of the deadliest times for traffic fatalities. This year, the NSC “estimates 394 traffic fatalities and another 42,200 medically consulted injuries may occur over the traditional end-of-summer weekend from motor vehicle collisions.”
Below we offer some tips for safe driving on the road compiled from some of the best sources on highway safety. Again, enjoy the last days of summer and stay safe with your family and those who share the road.
To ensure a safe Labor Day holiday weekend, NSC recommends drivers:
- Establish and enforce a distraction-free zone, especially in cars equipped with electronic devices including cell phones, global positioning systems and other in-vehicle technology
- Make sure all passengers are buckled up and children are in safety seats appropriate for their age and size
- Allow plenty of travel time to avoid frustration and diminish the impulse to speed
- Drive defensively and exercise caution, especially during inclement weather
- Designate a non-drinking driver or plan for alternative transportation, such as a taxi
- If you are drinking, do not drive
- Young drivers are at particular risk to be involved in alcohol-related crashes (If there is a young driver in your family, strictly enforce a zero tolerance policy with alcohol – all states have a zero tolerance law where drivers under the age of 21 cannot have any alcohol in their systems)
- Your best defense against a drunk driver is wearing your safety belt, so buckle up
* Compiled from both 2012/2013 lists.
Getting Your Car in Shape
Avoiding the Madness
The most important thing you can do is leave early. Take on the highways early Saturday morning or before rush hour on Friday. If you’re driving on Labor Day, follow the same rules. Most people will brave their return home in the early evening or late afternoon. Try getting to the highways before 4 p.m. or after 10 p.m. and you should be in much better shape. Another important thing you can do to prepare for Labor Day driving is to plan your route well. Look for alternate routes, program your GPS or use a map to get you where you need to go as fast and efficiently as possible. You also can check online to see if the road you’re planning to take is undergoing repairs or has scheduled lane changes, so you can search for alternatives or plan for additional driving time.
- Perform a pre-trip inspection – Check your tire pressure, wipers and fluids. Simple maintenance can prevent many of the problems that strand motorists on the side of the road before you leave your home.
- Plan your trip – Know where you are going and be prepared to exit. Indecisive driving is a major cause of traffic problems.
- Check the weather forecast and conditions – Weather conditions can change very quickly. Be sure to check the forecast often. Do not attempt to drive through standing water. Watch for road closures and detours.
- Large Trucks Have Blindspots – If you can’t see the truck driver in his or her mirrors, then the truck driver can’t see you.
- Do not cut in front of large trucks – Remember that trucks are heavier and take longer to make a complete stop, so avoid cutting quickly in front of them. A fully loaded tractor trailer takes a football field and both end zones to come to a complete stop when driving at highway speeds.
- Pay Attention – Distracted driving is a leading cause of crashes. Looking away for even two seconds doubles the chances of an accident. Turn cell phones and PDAs off.
- Allow a Safety Cushion – Look 1/4 mile ahead for a safe path. Leave yourself an out.
- Slow Down – Chances of a crash nearly triples when driving faster than surrounding traffic.
- Keep extra water in your vehicle – Just as you keep a winter driving kit in your vehicle, it is important to be prepared when driving during the summer months. Keep plenty of extra water, sunscreen and non-perishable snacks in your car in case you are stranded.
- Buckle Up – Safety belts are not a fashion statement – they save lives.
- Abide by Traffic Rules – Follow traffic signs and signals – paying special attention to work zones is important during this high construction season.
- Be Careful Backing Up – One in four preventable collisions involve backing up. Be sure to look before backing up; walk around your car prior to departure.
Sources: National Safety Council, Loudoun County Traffic: Labor Day Driving Safety Tips via USA Today, and The American Trucking Associations
Have Fun and Stay Safe!
-The resqme team