Memorial Day weekend kicks off the summer vacation season and is typically the busiest for traffic where millions of families hit the road. More traffic means more chances of accidents. In 2012, the holiday weekend claimed more than 370 lives on the roads as a result of crashes, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).
The American Red Cross and NHTSA offer these safe driving tips to help protect you and your family while traveling.
- Stay alert – Give your full attention to the road. Avoid distractions such as cell phones. Drink water to avoid dehydration.
- Buckle Up – Everyone in your vehicle must agree to wear their seatbelts every time they are riding or driving with you. Wearing a seatbelt is also the best defense against a drunk-driving related crash. Make sure children’s car and booster seats are properly installed.
- Rest up – Get plenty of rest before you begin your adventure. It will help you stay more alert.
- Allow extra travel time – Expect delays and leave early for your destination in order to avoid being frustrated by congested roads. Frustration leads to aggressive driving that can result in a crash. Don’t run yellow or red lights and leave plenty of room behind the vehicles you’re following.
- Avoid alcohol – Alcohol and driving can be a deadly mix. It reduces your reflexes and cognitive actions. Every day, nearly 30 people in the U.S. die in an alcohol-related crash.
- Make frequent stops – This helps avoid fatigue and keeps you more alert. Have a snack or a light lunch during the stop. Stretch your legs and walk around a bit.
- Check your tires – Improperly inflated tires can lead to a blowout, especially driving for long period of time on a hot road. Check the placard on your vehicle driver’s door for the proper inflation rate. Also, check the condition and inflation of your spare tire.
- Keep it clean – Make sure your windshield and lights are clean. Not only can the outside of the windshield get dirty, so does the inside where a cloudy haze often forms and can impede night vision. Take a roll of paper towels and window cleaner with you.
- Use caution in work zones – There are many road construction projects underway. Speed limits are usually reduced in these zones. Also, remember the “Move Over Law.” If you see a police cruiser stopped at the side of the highway, you are required to move over to the next lane.
- Don’t leave kids unattended – Even if you’re running into a store for just a few minutes, children should never be left alone in a vehicle.
- Keep an eye on the gas gauge – Don’t let your gas tank get too low. There are some areas where gas stations can be many miles apart. A good rule of thumb is not to let the gauge go below half.
Many families take their pets with them. Consider your pet’s age and health before taking him or her along for the ride. If you do take your pet with you, make sure you bring food and bowls, a leash, and medication. It’s also a good idea to bring along a picture of your pet in case it gets loose.
Being properly prepared for the long holiday weekend trip can make it not only fun, but safe.
If you are in need of an insurance agent or are looking to find out what your insurance options are for your home, auto, health or business please contact me.
Independent Insurance Broker
Walter J. May Insurance Agency Inc., Hingham, MA
Direct: 781-740-5421 Cell: 617-827-6848