ATA Shares Tips for Sharing the Road this Holiday Season

by Jana Ritter - Published: 12/17/2012

‘Tis the season for holiday shoppers, holiday party goers, holiday travelers and more trucks shipping holiday packages all over the country. More freight means the need for more drivers and many companies handle the pre-Christmas rush with temporary drivers who may not have the same experience as regular full time truck drivers. Heavier traffic and tighter deadlines for both motor vehicles and big trucks also means a lot of drivers are on over-drive, working longer hours with the less rest in between. Exhaustion plays a huge role in one's ability to operate any vehicle, especially when it's a big rig. Of approximately 500,000 trucking related accidents that occur each year, many take place during these last six weeks of December.


"The holidays are a challenging time on the highways," says Share the Road Professional Driver Dion Saiz of FedEx Freight.  "Between motorists visiting families or finishing up last minute shopping there is nothing better than patience and safe driving practices behind the wheel," he adds. With over 84.4 million motorists expected to fill the roads this year's holiday season, the American Trucking Association wants to ensure a safe one for all and is offering the following tips for sharing the road:

• Plan ahead:  Before you get on a highway, know your exit by name and number, and watch the signs as you near the off-ramp. Drivers making unexpected lane changes to exit often cause accidents. ┬áLeave extra space in front of you as well.
• 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.
• Be aware of truck blind-spots: If you can't see the truck driver in his or her mirrors, then the truck driver can't see you. Don't let ice and snow create additional blind spots to your own vehicle.
• Be aware of changes in weather. Avoid extreme weather and try to travel during daylight.
• Keep your eyes on the road:  Distracted driving is a major cause of traffic accidents with two seconds of distraction time doubling the chances of an accident. Use your cell phone when stopped and never text while driving.
• Leave early and avoid risks:  Leave early so you won't be anxious about arriving late and to accommodate delays. Road conditions may change due to inclement weather or traffic congestion.
• Remove ice and snow from your vehicle:  Clear your windows and roof of snow to insure you have maximum visibility and avoid creating a hazard for the vehicle behind you. Don't allow ice and snow to create additional blind spots on your vehicle.

Perhaps the most important reminder for safe driving at any time of year is to always buckle-up. Accidents can occur sometimes even without any driver being at fault and seat belts at least guarantee a 45 percent less chance of a crash having fatal results.