SAFE MEMORIAL DAY DRIVING TIPS
Countless people all over the country are eager to get away for a long, Memorial Day weekend. This means the chances of an accident, injury, or even a fatality will significantly rise. If you want to keep you and your loved ones safe on the road as well as be able to arrive to (and from) your holiday destination safely, following these simple tips will make a huge impact.
• Make sure you’re well rested: it can be hard to stay awake for extended road trips unless you’ve had a good night’s sleep. Even if you have to work that day and don’t plan to head out until later in the evening, getting a good night of sleep prior will be beneficial.
• Plan your route in advance: it can be tempting to simply set out and see where the road takes you, but it’s a better plan to have your route mapped out ahead of time. You’ll then be aware of any traffic concerns along the way, and you’ll be less distracted looking for road signs or landmarks if you’ve already got a destination in mind.
• Make frequent stops to walk/stretch: this is important for more than just the driver – everyone in the car winds up stiff, cramped, and grumpy on long road trips. The general rule on especially long trips is to stop once every couple hundred miles. Grabbing snacks, refueling, and stretching can be more rejuvenating than you’d think!
• Be sure everyone is wearing seat belts: This is the fastest and easiest way to ramp up the level of safety for your trip. Your best bet is to make sure every last belt is clicked before you’ve even started the car and shifted into gear.
• No texting or cellphone use while driving: distracted driving has increasingly become a top factor in auto accidents… and yet is completely preventable. Do not text or use the cell phone, even hands free, if you are the driver. If a phone call comes in that’s unavoidable, find a place to pull over on the side of the street or highway. Using your phone while on the road with thousands of other Memorial Day travelers is a recipe for disaster.
• Slow down and drive defensively: Speed limits are posted for a reason – follow them! Especially when sharing the road with hundreds of other holiday drivers. Everyone believes that they are an excellent driver – and they very well could be. You don’t know what kind of driver the person next to you, in front of you, or behind you are and it is always better safe than sorry. So, stay attentive and defensive while traveling.
• Keep an emergency kit in the car: this is a good idea no matter what, but especially on trips where the route to your destination brings you through the middle of nowhere. Blankets, water, flashlights, batteries, Band-Aids, gauze and wound cleaning supplies, etc., all of these will be good to have on hand.
• Give others your itinerary: friends or family who are not making the journey with you should have your travel plans/timeline, and your destination ETA. If there’s any delay, be sure to call and let them know (when you’re not driving!). Make sure they know if they do not hear from you by designated times, to try and call you or another emergency contact.
• Don’t drink and drive: this may seem like a no-brainer, but especially during the holiday and its travels, a surprising amount of people will still have a drink (or three) before heading out on the road. If you do plan to drink, make sure someone else with you will be able to drive.
By following all 10 of these tips, you’ll have a better chance of arriving to your destination in one piece, and you can enjoy the Memorial Day weekend you’ve been planning and waiting for without a single worry!