Augusta Free Press

Professional truck drivers provide holiday, winter driving tips

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 season and upcoming winter weather.

AAA Mid-Atlantic projects that 3 million Virginians are expected to travel at least 50 miles during the holiday period, a 2.9 percent increase over last year. Nationwide travel also is expected to be heavy, with 107 million people planning to take trips of 50 miles or longer – a 3% increase from 2016.

“The holidays are a great time to get together with family and friends to celebrate,” 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.”

High traffic volume can contribute to increased risk for congestion and accidents. Winter weather amplifies the danger of being stranded, broken down or involved in an accident, and not being properly prepared with basic travel needs like food, blankets and water can lead to life-threatening scenarios.

“Inclement weather conditions on the road create driving hazards that require extra attention during the winter months,” said America’s Road Team Captain Rhonda Hartman, of Old Dominion Freight Lines. “When traffic volumes increase around some of the major travel holidays, it makes driving safely even more difficult. So, as professional truck drivers, we have some tips for you and your family.”

“As a truck driver, I am one of the last people out on the road helping Santa with his presents during the holiday season,” said America’s Road Team Captain Tim Melody, of ABF Freight Systems Inc. “Having an informed motoring public that understands and adjusts to the hazards of winter driving makes my job easier.”

Snow and ice pose unique challenges for drivers. Being acutely aware of the weather conditions and forecast can prevent unexpected circumstances and make for a safer trip. Practicing caution at all times, even when traveling at low speeds on city streets, can prevent property damage and injury.

Impaired driving also puts the general motoring public at risk, including the professionals tasked with delivering holiday gifts, decorations and foods. Arranging safe methods of transportation this holiday season is very important.

“As a truck driver from the chilly state of Minnesota, I have to be prepared to make quick decisions when confronted with snow, ice and other forms of wintery weather, and I count on the people around me to make quick, safe decisions as well,” said America’s Road Team Captain Bill Krouse, of YRC Freight. “It’s important to be constantly aware of your surroundings, the weather and the flow of traffic. We all share the road with families, neighbors, friends and colleagues who are trying to celebrate 2017 and the coming new year, and it is irresponsible to put other people in danger by being neglectful of your duties as a driver.”