Labor Day weekend is often regarded as the “last weekend of summer”, with millions taking to the highway for one final summer getaway. Tragically, this particular holiday has become associated with drunk driving – over the 2017 Labor Day holiday period 44 percent of traffic fatalities involved drivers who had been drinking.
To help ensure the 2019 Labor Day holiday is a time for celebration, eDriving is sharing the following road safety tips for you and your loved ones:
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 recommended that you 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! Learn more about driving defensively.
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.
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.
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”.
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.
Here are some sobering Labor Day statistics:
- During the 2017 Labor Day holiday period (6 p.m. September 1 – 5:59 a.m. September 5), there were 376 crash fatalities nationwide. Forty-four percent of those fatalities involved drivers who had been drinking (.01+ BAC). More than one-third (36%) of the fatalities involved drivers who were drunk (.08+ BAC), and more than one-fourth (26%) involved drivers who were driving with a BAC almost twice the legal limit (.15+ BAC).
- It is illegal to drive with a BAC of .08 or higher in all 50 states and the District of Columbia—no exceptions.
- Despite the fact that it’s illegal to drive with a BAC of .08 or higher, in 2017 one person was killed every 48 minutes by a drunk driver on our nation’s roads.