Traditionally, millions of Americans mark the start of summer with a Memorial Day weekend getaway. This year is going to be significantly different as we start to cautiously emerge from the COVID-19 Pandemic shut down across the USA. No one knows how busy the roads will be, but potentially many drivers who have not driven for a couple of months could all head off around the same time causing more collisions than normal as they “shake off the shut-down blues” – be extra vigilant if you are planning a long trip to see family and friends!
If you plan to travel over the Memorial Day weekend, here are ten tips to help keep you and your families safe while on the road:
- Adhere to your State’s lockdown regulations, recommended Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) strategy, and Social Distancing guidelines, as well as ensure you are aware of the rules in place at your intended destination – they may be different!
- Check your vehicle thoroughly; especially if it hasn’t been used for a while. Checks should include fluid levels, lights, tire pressures, brakes, battery and wiper blades, as well as a quick check in the wheel wells and engine bay to make sure nothing is/has been nesting!
- Plan your journey in advance, taking hygiene and sanitation factors into account – what do you need to carry with you, e.g. hand sanitizer, disinfectant wipes, etc?
- In the last few years, record numbers of people have traveled for Memorial Day; and while this year may look very different, there may be more traffic around in some states than there has been for a while.
- Drive defensively – some drivers may not have been behind the wheel for several weeks, potentially leaving them with “rusty” skills. Best Practice Guide: Defensive Driving
- 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). Best Practice Guide: Fatigue
- Take steps to avoid distractions while driving. You might have become more reliant on technology during lockdown, so the safest option is to turn your phone off or place it out of reach. Best Practice Guide: Distracted Driving
- Be aware that many families have been in lockdown together for several weeks, and emotions are likely to be high! This can affect driver behavior. Expect to encounter a range of excited/ distracted/ frustrated drivers.
- Never drive impaired, whether it be through alcohol, drugs, fatigue or medication.
- Obey traffic rules and remember that empty roads do NOT make it safer or acceptable to drive at unsafe speeds!
Visit eDriving’s COVID-19 Resource Center for more driver safety tips.
Safe Driving this Memorial Day.