Labor Day Driving Saftey

This Labor Day weekend, millions of drivers will take to the highway for one final summer getaway, making it one of the busiest holiday travel weekends of the year. The National Safety Council (NSC) estimates that 368 traffic fatalities and an additional 19,900 nonfatal disabling injuries will occur from 6 p.m. Friday, Sept. 3 through Monday, Sept. 6.

Prove the statistics wrong. The trucking and transportation industry is renowned for taking care of its own. Prove it this Labor Day weekend and throughout the remainder of September. Be aware of your environment and take proper precautions at all times. Never drink and drive or get in a car with someone who has been drinking.

NSC encourages drivers to buckle up during this busy holiday weekend, citing studies that show seat belts reduce the risk of crash injuries by 45 percent. NSC estimates 281 lives will be saved this Labor Day weekend because people wore safety belts, and an additional 96 lives could be saved if all people buckled up.

The American Trucking Association (ATA) America’s Road Team Captains, elite professional truck drivers with millions of accident-free miles, also offered advice on how to navigate through highway traffic and arrive at your destination safely. Their tips include:

Prepare your vehicle for long distance travel. Check your wipers and fluids. Have your radiator and cooling system serviced. Simple maintenance can prevent many of the problems that strand motorists on the side of the road.

Plan ahead. Before you get on a highway, know your exit by name and number, and watch the signs as you near the off-ramp. Drivers making unexpected lane changes to exit often cause accidents.

Be aware of motorists who cut in front of large trucks. Remember that trucks are heavier and take longer to make a complete stop, so avoid motorist cutting quickly in front of your vehicle.

Use a map or GPS. Surprisingly, few motorists plan their routes, even when driving through unfamiliar areas. Knowing the road is essential for safe driving – it allows you to anticipate lane changes and avoid a panicked search for directions.

Leave early and avoid risks. Leave early and allow for delays in your travel schedule. Know your limitations; don’t drive when tired, upset or physically ill.

Be aware of motorists in your blind spots. When sharing the road with large trucks, most motorists are unaware of blind spots. If they can’t see the truck driver in their mirrors, then the truck driver can’t see them.

Around Labor Day Weekend, traffic increases as motorists seek that final summer trip before the kids go back to school and the weather turns cool," said America’s Road Team Captain Greg Nauertz. "Additional motorists make safe driving habits all the more important. Nothing beats planning, preparation and patience."

So it’s up to us to not allow a single fellow motorist, family member or co-worker to die on the highways while we are on-duty and off-duty. Let’s enjoy our time off while tempering it with responsible behavior. Take care of yourself, your friends and your families, and come back to work alive, intact and ready.