The Virginia Trucking Association joins the American Trucking Associations and ATA’s Share the Road highway safety program in urging holiday travelers to focus on safe driving habits throughout the busy holiday weekend.
AAA projects nearly 1.2 million Virginians are expected to travel to celebrate July Fourth. Nationwide, AAA expects highway travel to exceed 44.2 million people this Independence Day weekend. This 3% increase means there will be more traffic and congestion on the highways from last year’s weekend, making it even more important to drive with caution.
“Independence Day weekend is a great time to get together with family and friends to celebrate our freedoms safely,” said Dale Bennett, President & CEO of the Virginia Trucking Association. “Following these simple tips and planning your trip ahead of time makes a big difference in creating a safe environment for everyone on our highways.”
“With an extraordinary amount of people traveling further distances than usual on the highways this weekend, it is vital to practice and promote safe driving.” said America’s Road Team Captain Steve Brand, of FedEx Freight. “Everybody deserves to be able to celebrate this holiday in safety, and by applying these safety tips, the general motoring public can deliver a safe holiday for themselves and their neighbors on the road.”
Safety on the highways is the ultimate goal of America’s Road Team Captains, which is why the group reminds drivers to focus while driving and to stay alert to the high number of travelers on the roads. The trucking industry invests more than $9.5 billion on safety each year and believes that the most important item on a traveler’s agenda this holiday is practicing safety to ensure that all drivers and passengers can arrive safely to their destinations.
“Observing tips such as buckling your safety belt, putting away your cell phone, and leaving an appropriate following distance between you and other cars all factor into safe driving,” said 2017 Virginia Truck Driver of the Year Matthew Smith, of Walmart Transportation. “We want people across America to have a good time with family and friends during this holiday, and our using our tips can drastically increase highway safety.”
America’s Road Team Captains offer these safety tips to remind motorists about key elements of safe driving, especially relating to operating small passenger vehicles near large tractor-trailers.
- Buckle Up: Independence Day is a time of high congestion on the highways and wearing your safety belt saves lives. Remember to buckle up at all times.
- Slow Down: Chances of a crash nearly triples when driving faster than surrounding traffic. The spring and summer are periods when work zones are busiest. It is important to reduce speeds when traveling through those areas over the holiday.
- Do not drive impaired: We have a lot of freedoms to celebrate during Independence Day, but impaired driving is not one of those freedoms and jeopardizes the freedoms of others. Consider the safety of others and yourself by planning ahead for your holiday.
- 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.
- Do not cut in front of large trucks: Remember trucks are heavier and take longer to make a complete stop, so avoid cutting quickly in front of them.
- 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. Don’t forget barbeque ingredients either!
- Leave early and avoid risks: Leave early so you won’t be anxious about arriving late. Road conditions may change due to inclement weather or traffic congestion.
- Be aware of the vehicle in front of you: Leave extra room between you and the vehicle ahead.
- Watch for children in neighborhoods who could be playing on or near residential streets. We want everyone to be able to enjoy the fireworks!