Labor Day weekend is generally considered as the “last weekend of summer” and is an especially dangerous time on America’s roads. Typically, millions take to the highway for one final holiday getaway. This year, while there may be less travel due to the global COVID-19 pandemic, traffic volumes are likely to be higher than over recent months.
To help ensure the 2020 Labor Day holiday is a time for celebration, eDriving is sharing the following road safety tips for you and your loved ones:
- Adhere to your state’s shutdown regulations and social distancing guidance. If you are traveling, make sure to check the rules in place along your route and at your destination. AAA has published a COVID-19 Travel Restrictions Map
- Perform vehicle checks before your trip (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.
- 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. Even if you are using GPS it’s advisable to familiarize yourself with the planned route before setting off to avoid confusion while driving.
- Ensure the whole family buckles up. Children should be seated in correctly-fitted car or booster seats – and pets should be properly restrained too.
- Look out for others. Traffic can be heavy over the holiday period – and some road users might be unfamiliar with the roads on which they are traveling. Be prepared for vehicles stopping or turning unexpectedly. Be particularly cautious when traveling close to trucks – don’t let yourself be caught up in truck drivers’ blind spots and don’t cut in front of heavy trucks. It takes them a lot longer to stop! See more: Best Practice Guide: Defensive Driving
- Remember 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: Best Practice Guide: Speeding
- A three-second following distance is for good conditions. Increase it 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: Best Practice Guide: Escape Routes
- Aim for a “distraction-free zone” in your vehicle. Pack quiet toys/ tablets/ DVD players with headsets to help keep children entertained during long trips. Set up GPS before setting off and put your phone away or on silent – or give it to a family member to be your “designated texter”.
- Make sure you’re well-rested before driving, and take at least a 15-minute break for every two hours of driving (more frequently if you feel tired). Learn more: Best Practice Guide: Fatigue
- If you’re drinking, don’t drive. If you’re driving, don’t drink. It’s that simple. Don’t forget the morning after effect of drinking alcohol too – and remember that other drivers don’t always follow the rules. Be prepared for the actions of others and remember that driving defensively is the best way of keeping you and your loved ones safe this Labor Day Holiday.
Latest Labor Day Statistics:
- During the 2018 Labor Day holiday period (6 p.m. August 31 – 5:59 a.m. September 4), 38% of fatalities in traffic crashes involved a drunk driver.
- During the 2018 Labor Day holiday period, there were 439 crash fatalities nationwide. Forty-three percent of those fatalities involved drivers who had been drinking (.01+ BAC). More than one-third (38%) of the fatalities involved drivers who were drunk (.08+ BAC), and nearly one-fourth (24%) involved drivers who were driving with a BAC almost twice the legal limit (.15+ BAC).
Like every other year, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) is partnering with law enforcement nationwide for the Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over enforcement campaign from August 21 through September 7, 2020, to help put a stop to alcohol-impaired driving. For motorcyclists, it is hosting a similar campaign, Ride Sober or Get Pulled Over.
Visit eDriving’s COVID-19 Resource Center for coronavirus-related news, guidance and resources.
Wishing you a Safe & Happy Labor Day!