Road Tripping: Labor Day Safety

by Gwen Newell

For many of us, the Labor Day holiday is the last big hoorah for the summer travel season – and with students back in school, the majority of travelers will most likely venture out on a 3-day road trip. Many of those opting for road trips over air travel, feel the benefits of driving gives them a greater sense of control over their surroundings, especially with the recent resurgence of COVID-19 cases.

AAA has rolled out a variety of free resources to keep travelers safe and give them peace-of-mind.

Road Trip Tips

  • Prep your vehicle. Visit a AAA Car Care Center to ensure your vehicle is road-trip ready. Some vehicles may have sat unused for months and should be inspected.
  • Plan stops. Destinations and businesses may have adjusted their hours of operation.
  • Pack cleaning supplies and face coverings. Some regions have ordinances requiring the use of masks.
  • Pack food and water. This could reduce the number of times you need to go to the store.
  • Pull out of the traffic lanes if your car breaks down. If faced with a vehicle emergency, safely steer your car off the roadway. Turn on the emergency flashers to alert other drivers and exit the vehicle on the side facing away from traffic if possible. Once everyone is in a safe location, request assistance from a road service provider.

Stop the Spread of Unsafe Driving

Preparation is paramount for people planning to travel during this pandemic, but it’s not just about protecting yourself from the virus. With an influx of drivers expected for Labor Day weekend, it’s also critical that travelers make safe decisions while behind the wheel. Please be sure to buckle up, slow down, and avoid distracted and impaired driving. These are simple steps to reduce the most common fatal accidents.

According to national figures from NHTSA:

  • Alcohol impaired driving accounts for just under one-third of all traffic fatalities. AAA says: arrange for a safe ride home before your first drink
  • Speeding typically accounts for one-third of all traffic fatalities. AAA says: Adhere to speed limits, leave early so you’re not in a hurry, reduce your speed for bad weather or other hazardous road conditions
  • Distraction is responsible for nine percent of fatal crashes. AAA says: Drivers are 8x more likely to crash when texting; 4x more likely to crash when talking on a cellphone. Put your phone down, program your GPS before driving, and secure loose items in the car.
  • Seat Belts save lives. Nearly half (47%) of people killed in motor vehicle crashes in 2017 were not wearing their seat belts. AAA says: Ensure the driver and all passengers buckle-up; this includes children. Motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of death for all children. The safest place for children under 12 is in the back seat. Click here for recommendations for what type of seats are best for kids.

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