ATA Urges Road Safety This Labor Day Weekendby Jana Ritter - Published: 8/30/2013
As motorists prepare for their last summer getaway, joining professional truck drivers already on the road, AAA Travel reports a 4.7 percent increase in those hitting the road this year compared to the same time in 2012 and the American Trucking Associations is urging all drivers to put safety before anything else.
For the 34.1 million motorists that are expected to travel on the highways this Labor Day weekend, America's Road Team Captains, (a team of professional truck drivers with millions of accident-free miles) are offering advice on how to navigate through the increased highway traffic and arrive at your destination safely.• 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.
"Labor Day weekend is one of the busiest summer travel weekends," said America's Road Team Captain Eddie Weeks (AAA Cooper Transportation) of Silver Springs, Fla. "There are additional motorists on the highway, with many in unfamiliar areas. For the sake of safety, drivers need to slow down, follow the rules of the road and be patient."