Every year, for the last few years, AAA has predicted a record-breaking number of travelers over the Independence Day holiday – and this year is likely to be no exception. In 2018, almost 47 million Americans planned to travel 50 miles or more away from home over the holiday period; an increase of five percent on the previous year and the highest since AAA started tracking almost two decades ago.

Whatever your travel plans, here are eDriving’s road safety tips to help keep you and your loved ones safe over the Independence Day holiday:

Carry out vehicle checks (brakes, lights, tires, fluid levels) and pack a breakdown kit that includes a flashlight, charged phone, jumper cables, first-aid kit, a basic toolkit, emergency flares, non-perishable food and plenty of water– plus any additional emergency items required by law in your state.

Avoid the busiest times for travel. INRIX publishes predictions of peak travel times in the run up to the holiday period. Plan your route in advance, allowing for regular rest stops in safe places; at least 15 minutes for every two hours of driving and more frequently if you feel tired.

Buckle up: seat belts save lives. Make sure children are seated in correctly-fitted car or booster seats.

Watch out for other road users. Lots of families will be taking to the roads over the holiday period and some drivers may not be familiar with the roads they are on. Be prepared for them stopping or turning unexpectedly while trying to find their way. Pay particular attention for vulnerable road users who can be more difficult to see.

Observe speed limits, remembering that maximum speed limits are not “target” speeds; they’re maximum limits in good conditions. Traffic, weather and environmental conditions impact on suitable speeds. Learn more.

Leave a following distance of at least three seconds in good conditions; more if traveling in wet weather or when visibility is poor. Be aware of your “escape route” when driving and when stopped at intersections. Learn more.

Drive defensively to help keep your and your family out of trouble. This style of driving helps you to anticipate the actions of others and avoid collisions before they happen. Learn more.

Stay focused on the road and avoid distractions. The more passengers you have, the greater the potential for becoming distracted. Make sure all family members are aware of how important it is that you concentrate on driving. Put your phone away before setting off, or give it to a family member to be your “designated texter”.

Remember that driving can be impaired by multiple factors, including medication, fatigue and alcohol. Get enough rest before traveling and remember the “morning after effect” of alcohol. If in doubt, do not drive. Check medication labels for potential side effects, including drowsiness.

Happy Fourth of July – Safe Travels!