Memorial Day Driving Tips
May 25, 2018
As Memorial Day weekend approaches, many of us will begin the unofficial start of summer with a road trip. This is one of the heaviest weekends for traffic all year, making the risk of being in a car accident higher than almost any other time of year. The National Safety Council predicts more than 400 people may be fatally injured and 47,000 seriously injured in motor vehicle accidents during Memorial Day weekend this year.
Safe driving starts with being well rested, using seat belts, observing speed limits, and following the rules of the road. Before heading out on Memorial Day weekend, take some time to remember these simple safety tips to ensure that your summer begins with a fun event and not a car accident.
- Pay attention. Using a cell phone while driving is a traffic offense in most states. It contributes to distracted driving and related accidents, which have been on the rise in recent years. Avoid other distractions that include eating and drinking while driving. If you are driving a long distance, take regular breaks every few hours to avoid getting tired, which interferes with attention span and reaction time. If you will be enjoying alcohol, be sure to have a designated driver who does not drink, so everyone can arrive safely.
- Keep your car in good condition. Tires should have adequate air pressure to avoid blowouts, especially in hot weather, and to obtain better mileage. Keep windshield and headlights clean for good visibility. Make sure you have enough gas and that your oil, brake, and windshield wiper fluids are all topped off.
- Drive defensively. Work zones for construction projects often alter traffic patterns and require you to slow down. Maneuver carefully by being aware of what workers and other drivers in and around the work zone are doing. Maintain safe distances from cars in front of you.
- Have emergency supplies available. Useful items include a communication device, spare tire, lug wrench, jack, portable air compressor, flashlight, jumper cables, water bottles, granola bars, and a first aid kit.
If you are traveling with a child, be sure to use a safe child seat. If you are traveling with your pet, make sure they are safely within a carrier or a specially designed harness that can be attached to a seat belt. Never leave children or pets unattended in a car. The temperature can quickly rise to dangerously elevated levels. Be sure you are familiar with the features of your car. Adaptive cruise control, blind spot warning systems, and backup cameras are all designed to improve the driving experience.
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