Wishes You A Safe Independence Day

by Jana Ritter - Published: 7/04/2013

It's that time of year again…when everyone is ready to kick-off the summer with a celebratory July 4th holiday weekend and thinking more about the good times to be had, instead of anything that could possibly going bad. Without raining on anyone's Independence Day parade, we want to remind you that safety is key to any successful celebration.

Independence day

AAA estimates that 40.8 million Americans will take to the roads this 4th of July holiday weekend and more vehicles means more accidents waiting to happen. But America's Road Team is putting the word out for everyone to remember some common sense driving tips and make the roads a lot safer overall. America's road team is a group of elite professional drivers with more than 450 years collective driving experience and over 30 million accident-free miles, so they have the best safety tips of all:

Prepare before you leave - 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.

Be aware of large trucks - Trucks have large blind spots, so if you can't see the truck driver in his or her mirrors, then the truck driver can't see you. Also 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 a quarter mile ahead for a safe path and leave yourself an out in case of distress.

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.

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.

“The Fourth of July is a special holiday for many Americans - and in particular many truck drivers,” said Ted Carlson of FedEx Freight. “By exercising a little caution and common sense, we can all do our part to ensure the holiday remains a festive and happy occasion for all Americans.”

The America's Road Team, sponsored by Volvo Trucks, is a national public outreach program led by a small group of professional truck drivers who share superior driving skills, remarkable safety records and a strong desire to spread the word about safety on the highway.  Follow America's Road Team on Facebook or Twitter.