Professional truck drivers offer important Memorial Day highway safety tips

roads-newThe Virginia Trucking Association (VTA) is urging the the nearly 1 million Virginians expected to travel our highways over the Memorial Day weekend to drive safely and follow several simple tips in order to keep this a safe holiday.

With roughly 33 million Americans hitting the road this Memorial Day, drivers from American Trucking Associations’ Share the Road program urged motorists to exercise caution and good judgment as summer travel begins to ramp up.

“In addition to being a very solemn and important holiday, Memorial Day is also the unofficial kickoff of summer and the summer driving season,” said Russ Simpson, a Share the Road professional driver with Holland Inc. “With more traffic on the roads than usual, it is more important than ever for drivers to be defensive and attentive behind the wheel.”

“Summer travel often means driving on less familiar roads – so it is all the more important to pay attention, put your phone down and not get behind the wheel if you’ve had too much summer fun,” said David Green, a Share the Road professional with Werner Enterprises. “And of course, it is always important to buckle up.”

Other tips and tactics Simpson, Green and their fellow Share the Road drivers urged motorists to heed are:

  • Buckle up: Safety belts reduce the risk of fatal injury by 45% 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 between you and other vehicles and reduce your speed.
  • Don’t drive impaired: The holidays are often a time for merriment, but if you’ve had too much to drink, don’t get behind the wheel.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.

“Memorial Day weekend is one of the busiest summer travel weekends in the Commonwealth,” said Virginia Trucking Association President & CEO Dale Bennett. “There are additional drivers on Virginia’s highways, with many of them traveling in unfamiliar areas.”


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