The American Trucking Associations (ATA) is asking the estimated 46.3 million motorists who are expected to take to the highways this Thanksgiving to drive safely and follow several simple tips in order to keep this a safe and joyous holiday season.
“The only turkeys we want to see are on the table, not on the highway,” said Byron Bramwell, a Share the Road Professional Driver who drives for YRC Freight. “The roads will be especially busy with people visiting family for Thanksgiving or starting their holiday shopping. Leave yourself a little extra time and space, slow down and be attentive while you’re driving.”
Among the tips Bramwell and his fellow Share the Road professionals offer to motorists are:
Buckle up: Safety belts reduce the risk of fatal injury by 45 percent and are a simple way to increase your safety on the road.
Slow down: With the extra highway congestion due to holiday travel, speeding becomes even more dangerous. Allow plenty of space cushion and reduce your speed.
Prepare your vehicle for long distance travel: Check your wipers and fluids. Have your radiator and cooling system serviced. Simple maintenance before you leave your home can prevent many of the problems that strand motorists on the side of the road.
Be aware of the vehicle in front of you: Leave extra room between you and the vehicle in front so you can avoid snow and ice blowing onto your windshield or maneuver around patches of ice.
Don’t cut in front of large trucks: Remember that trucks are heavier and take longer to make a complete stop, so avoid cutting quickly in front of them.
Be aware of truck blind spots: When sharing the road with large trucks, be aware of their blind spots. If you can’t see the truck driver in his or her mirrors, then the truck driver can’t see you.
Keep your eyes on the road: Distracted driving is a major cause of traffic accidents. Even just two seconds of distraction time doubles the chances of an accident. Use your cell phone when stopped and never text while driving.
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.
Check your emergency kit: Contents should include: battery powered radio, flashlight, blanket, jumper cables, fire extinguisher, first aid kit, bottled water, non-perishable foods, maps, tire repair kit and flares.
Be aware of changes in weather: Weather conditions across the U.S. will be changing — especially during early mornings and evenings with the cold. Watch for ice, snow and other weather related obstacles.
Leave early and avoid risks: Leave early so you won’t be anxious about arriving late and to accommodate delays. Road conditions may change due to inclement weather or traffic congestion.
Avoid extreme weather conditions: Ice, hail and snow make roads difficult to travel. Try to avoid driving through extreme weather conditions, and travel during daylight.
Remove ice and snow from your vehicle: Clear your windows and roof of snow to insure you have maximum visibility and avoid creating a hazard for the vehicle behind you. Don’t allow ice and snow to create additional blind spots on your vehicle.
“It seems so simple, but buckling up, planning ahead and leaving yourself a little extra time can make all the difference,” said Share the Road Professional Driver Thomas Miller with Prime Inc. “Winter weather can also make travel treacherous, so if it looks like the roads will get bad, stay home and wait to travel.
“This is a season where many professional drivers, including the ones that delivered an estimated 46 million turkeys for Thanksgiving, are away from home, so in addition to sharing the road safely, make sure you give them a little extra thought and thanks as you travel this year,” ATA President and CEO Bill Graves said.
The Share the Road Professional Drivers would like to remind the motoring public that from driveway to highway, safety requires patience and dedication.