The Labor Day holiday weekend marks the unofficial end of the summer vacation season and one of the most traveled weekends during the summer – third behind Independence Day and Memorial Day. As drivers set out on that last road trip of the summer, AAA urges drivers to buckle up, avoid speeding, distractions and driving impaired.
The majority of traffic crashes can be prevented. According to NHTSA data, in 2017 impaired driving and accounted for just under one-third of all traffic fatalities. While speeding-related fatalities declined in 2017, it still accounted for over one-fourth of all crash fatalities. Distracted driving and passengers failing to buckle up lead to fatalities as well.
“With greater numbers of drivers expected on the roadways, it’s crucial for motorists to make safe and responsible decisions when getting behind the wheel,” said Montrae Waiters, spokeswoman, AAA – The Auto Club Group.
AAA Offers Tips for Safer Travel:
· Plan ahead. Make sure your vehicle has been properly serviced. Program your navigation before you hit the road. Make sure the battery on your phone is completely charged and have a charger, in case of an emergency. Have an emergency roadside kit in your vehicle.
· Leave early. To avoid congestion, AAA encourages drivers who have the flexibility, to travel during off-peak hours. Based on prior holiday trends, we know that Friday afternoons are busy days to travel. Traffic is also expected to be heavy late Monday afternoon.
· Be patient. Follow the rules of the road as there will be more motorists on the roadways than usual, with many in unfamiliar areas.
· Stay alert. Be sure to have a good night’s sleep before getting behind the wheel of your vehicle. AAA recommends drivers take breaks every two hours or 100 miles. If you’re feeling drowsy, pull off to a safe location and take a nap.
· Eliminate distractions. Avoid distractions like texting while driving or reading a text while driving. If you must respond to text or a phone call, pull off to a safe location. Research shows that taking your eyes off the road for just two seconds doubles your chances of getting into a crash.
· Buckle up: Make sure all passengers are buckled up no matter the seat they occupy in the car. This simple action can save lives should you get into a crash.
· Comply with the Move Over Law. Observe the Move Over Law when law enforcement or emergency vehicles are on the side of the road. Change lanes or slow down to give sufficient clearance. This is the law in all 50 states.
· Pull out of the traffic lanes if your car breaks down. If faced with a vehicle emergency, safely steer your car off the roadway. Turn on the emergency flashers to alert other drivers and exit the vehicle on the side facing away from traffic if possible. Once everyone is in a safe location, request assistance from a road service provider.
“Take your time, plan ahead and stay alert. If drivers follow these simple rules this holiday weekend, we can reduce or even eliminate unnecessary crashes while avoiding injury or death,” continues Waiters.
Before hitting the road, AAA recommends that drivers download the free AAA Mobile app for iPhone, iPad, Android and Apple Watch. Travelers can use the app to request AAA roadside assistance, route a trip, find the lowest gas prices, access exclusive member discounts, book a hotel, and more. AAA members can also track the location of their assigned service vehicle in real time with Service Tracker. Learn more at AAA.com.