Professional drivers offer safe driving tips for Christmas holiday travel

roads-newThe Virginia Trucking Association is urging the 2.8 million Virginians expected to travel our highways over the Christmas and New Year’s holidays to drive safely and follow several simple tips in order to keep this a safe and joyous holiday season.
The Share the Road highway safety program compiled this list of tips for drivers hitting the road this holiday season:
  • Buckle up: Safety belts reduce the risk of fatal injury by 45% and are a simple way to increase your safety on the road. If traveling with any small elves, make sure they too are properly secured.
  • Slow Down: With the extra highway congestion due to holiday travel, speeding becomes even more dangerous. Allow plenty of space between you and other vehicles and reduce your speed.
  • 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.
  • Don’t drive impaired: The holidays are often a time for merriment, but if you’ve had too much to drink, please do not get behind the wheel. Many services are available to get you home safely.
  • 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.
  • Do not 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. We will only judge you for using emojis if you are using them 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. Cookies are good, too.
  • Be aware of changes in weather: Weather conditions across the U.S. will be changing – especially during early mornings and evenings. Watch for ice, snow and other weather related obstacles and be aware of any temperature changes.
  • 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.

“Safety for all motorists is our industry’s highest priority,” said VTA President and CEO Dale Bennett. “We wish everyone a happy holiday season, but also want to remind everyone to do their part to make sure it is a safe one. Following the rules of the road and sharing the road can help everyone – including certain jolly old elves – to arrive at their destinations on time and safely.”

“Even though reindeer do a great job of navigating the sleigh, drivers should not pretend to be Dasher or Comet when taking to the highways this month,” said professional driverJohn McKown (UPS Freight). “Safe driving is critical this time of year and there are many steps you can take to prepare for holiday travel. Take a minute to review our list of good highway safety habits before going over the river and through the woods.”
The Share the Road Professional Drivers would like to remind the motoring public that from driveway to highway, safety requires patience and dedication.
*Editors: Share the Road Professional Drivers in your area may be available to speak about Thanksgiving and Winter safe driving tips during the holiday weekend. by contacting Elisabeth Barna at ebarna@trucking.org or (202) 420-8972.  VTA President & CEO Dale Bennett can be contacted for an interview at dbennett@vatrucking.org or (804) 355-5371 or(804) 339-5111.
 
Share the Road is a highway safety outreach program of the American Trucking Associations that educates all drivers about sharing the roads safely with large trucks. An elite team of professional truck drivers with millions of accident-free miles deliver life-saving messages to millions of motorists annually. The safety program is sponsored by Mack Trucks Inc. and

Michelin North America Inc.  www.atastr.org. Follow the Share the Road on Twitter and Facebook.
The Virginia Trucking Association (VTA) is the Virginia affiliate of the American Trucking Associations and is the only statewide trade association dedicated to serving the trucking industry in Virginia.  The VTA membership includes trucking companies, private fleet operators, industry suppliers, and other firms and individuals interested in the well-being and safety of motor freight transportation at the local, state and national level. Visit www.vatrucking.org and follow the VTA on Twitter @VaTruckingAssn.
The American Trucking Associations is the largest national trade association for the trucking industry. Through a federation of 50 affiliated state trucking associations and industry-related conferences and councils, ATA is the voice of the industry America depends on most to move our nation’s freight. Follow ATA on Twitter or on Facebook.   Trucking Moves America Forward