What Are Some Driving Safety Tips for Labor Day?
Labor Day weekend is the unofficial closing of summer, but it is also one of the busiest driving weekends of the year. With the school year fast approaching and families trying to get their last vacation in, the roads will be heavily congested, and it could get quite dangerous. In fact, the National Safety Council (NSC) predicts that Labor Day weekend will likely see over 400 car accident fatalities.
The NSC also predicts that there will be over 40 million travelers on Labor Day weekend, and it is estimated to see over 19,000 vehicle-related personal injuries. It is important to remain patient and careful when traveling during the holiday weekend. Here are some driving tips to help keep yourself and your family safe.
- Plan ahead. If you travel on Labor Day weekend, it is important to have everything packed and the route planned ahead of time to avoid any stress. Have a passenger in the car handle your phone and GPS duties, and try to study the roads you will be traveling on beforehand. Have a good travel schedule on hand and plan for breaks as well if you are traveling over an hour.
- Avoid peak times. Although it may be tempting, it is not a good idea to leave for a vacation right after work, as the afternoon and evening rush is perhaps the most dangerous time to be on the road. If you plan on traveling for the holiday, it is best to leave as early as possible, preferably between 5:00 am and 7:00 am, Thursday, Friday, or Saturday. Thursday is probably the best day to leave. When you are on your way back, try to leave before noon on Monday or the Tuesday after.
- Buckle up. It is a well-known fact that seat belts save lives. The NSC estimates that almost 300 lives will be saved by wearing a seat belt this holiday weekend, as seat belts reduce the risk of an accident injury by 45 percent. It is important that the driver and all passengers buckle up, and children should be in an age-appropriate car seat and buckled in properly.
- Do not drink and drive. Drunk driving is still a prevalent problem in the United States, particularly around holiday weekends, and Labor Day is one of them. With the number of travelers expected to be on the road and people celebrating, driving drunk will only exacerbate the issue. Even one drink can impair you and your driving ability, so if you plan on drinking, have a designated driver on hand or a ride sharing app. If you host a party, be sure to get rides home for your guests or offer them to stay at your place for the night. Offer plenty of food and water to help deal with the effects of alcohol.
- Limit distractions. Distracted driving is one of the leading causes of car accidents in the country, and with the heavy reliance on smartphones, it has been getting worse. Put your phone away in the glovebox or out of reach before you drive or have someone in the car handle your phone calls and texts. Any activity that takes your focus off driving is a distraction, such as eating, drinking, even talking to a passenger, so limit them as best as possible.
- Practice defensive driving. Defensive driving is being aware of your surroundings at all times and keeping a safe distance from yourself and other cars. Obey traffic laws and allow others to pass you or give them the right of way. Do not follow too closely, and never cut in front of a large, commercial truck, as they need a longer time to stop. If the conditions are poor, leave more room for yourself so you have plenty of time to stop if necessary.
- Maintain your car. The summer is a good time to get your car maintained and looked at, and it certainly will help keep you and your family safe should you go traveling. You do not want to end up on the side of the highway with an issue that you could have prevented by having your vehicle maintained. Get your oil change done, fluids topped off, and your tires and brakes checked. Remember to have hoses, belts, and your battery checked as well.
- Have an emergency kit. You should always have an emergency kit in your car, but especially when you go on a long trip. Make sure your kit has a first-aid kit, a flashlight, flares, drinking water, and non-perishable food. Have extra batteries on hand, and remember to have a phone charger and some blankets in case you get stuck on the side of the road.
- Be aware of construction zones. Summer is normally the time when the roads are in repair, so expect to be in construction zones more than a few times. This means to be prepared for lower speeds, shifting lanes, and traffic backups. Knowing where the construction zones are beforehand can also help your route, but if you cannot, remember to be patient and extra careful when traveling through a construction zone.
- Rest up. You may be too excited to go on vacation that you forget that rest is equally important, especially if you plan on traveling the next day. Drowsy driving is just as bad as drunk driving, and the two share the same symptoms as well. When you are tired, your reaction times and ability to remain focused are severely reduced, so be sure to get plenty of rest the night before. Plan on taking a break while traveling as well; a good rule to follow is to take a 20-minute break for every 100 miles you drive, or for every few hours. Stretching your legs and taking a slight break can help wake you up.
- Be patient. With the amount of congestion expected on the road on the holiday weekend, it is important to remember to be patient, and anger will only lead to bigger problems. Give yourself plenty of time to leave, as rushing and impatient driving are not safe as well. Remain patient and cautious behind the wheel at all times and you should reach your destination safe and soundly.
Washington DC Car Accident Lawyers at the Law Offices of Duane O. King Help Clients Injured over Labor Day Weekend
Holiday weekends are packed with travelers, and an accident may be unavoidable. If you or a loved one has been injured in by a negligent driver, reach out to the Washington DC car accident lawyers at the Law Offices of Duane O. King. Our experienced legal team will investigate the cause of the accident and will fight to make sure you receive full and fair compensation. Call us today at 202-331-1963 or contact us online for a free consultation. Located in Washington DC, Alexandria, Virginia, and National Harbor, Maryland, we work with clients in Prince George’s County, including Laurel, Beltsville, Adelphi, College Park, Greenbelt, Mitchellville, Woodmore, Greater Upper Marlboro, Springdale, Largo, Bowie, Capitol Heights, District Heights, Forestville, Suitland, Seat Pleasant, Clinton, Oxon Hill, Temple Hills, and Fort Washington.