Trucking Unlimited Wishes Everyone a Safe Memorial Day Weekendby Jana Ritter - Published: 5/23/2014
With millions of Americans taking to the highways this Memorial Day weekend, American Trucking Associations is urging motorists to slow down, exercise caution and do their part to ensure our roads are safe. It is estimated that 36.1 million people would travel at least 50 miles from home May 22 through May 26, up from 35.5 million last year. That's the highest total since the recession and the second highest total since 2000, behind only the 44 million who traveled during Memorial Day 2005.
Most of this year's travelers are going by automobile, which makes safety even more paramount for the big rigs sharing the road as well. As of Friday, stepped-up law enforcement efforts are in full swing in states across the USA, and thankfully there are no major weather issues projected to severely impair driving conditions. AAA spokeswoman Heather Hunter said, "We're not seeing any major weather systems or anything that would disrupt travel.”
Much of the nation will enjoy fairly tranquil, dry weather this holiday weekend, but showers and thunderstorms could wash out outdoor activities in the central and southern Plains, according to AccuWeather. "There is the potential for several inches of rain to fall on the area from central and western Texas to western and central Oklahoma and Kansas through Memorial Day," AccuWeather meteorologist Alex Sosnowski said. The National Weather Service has issued a flash flood watch in some areas because of the predicted heavy rain.
In 2012, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) says, 377 people died in crashes during the Memorial holiday. NHTSA on Friday urged drivers to buckle up every trip, avoid driving after drinking, check the safety of tires and keep children safe in and around vehicles. America's Road Team, (professional truck drivers with more than 470 years collective driving experience and in excess of 30 million accident-free miles), has several tips for all truck drivers and motorists traveling the highways this weekend:
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.