According to AAA, this year’s Memorial Day weekend will see the second highest traffic volume in the holiday’s history, with more than 38 million Americans expected to take to the highways this weekend. AAA estimates that about 1.1 million Virginians (nearly 13% of the state’s population) are expected to travel at least 50 miles from home next weekend. That’s a record and a 1.7% increase over last year.
“During busy weekends, our job as professional truck drivers gets a little more challenging, but we have the skills and training to deal with the extra traffic,” said America’s Road Team Captain Kirk Weis, of ABF Freight. “We want everyone to have a safe summer of driving and, to me, that starts with having a safe Memorial Day weekend on the highway. Keep these tips in mind while you’re traveling this weekend.”
The trucking industry is remembering the fallen soldiers who made the ultimate sacrifice in defending the nation’s freedoms. Trucking companies take great pride in providing meaningful, rewarding work for veterans of the military who want to continue their service to the country by assisting in the transportation of its most essential goods.
“There is no greater responsibility than protecting the lives of others,” said America’s Road Team Captain Henry Bruster, of UPS Freight. “I learned how to protect others and drive a truck while in the military, and I think those responsibilities have carried over to my job as a professional truck driver. We are all called upon to make safety a priority when using the highways, especially during busy holidays when more vehicles are on the roads.”
America’s Road Team Captains offer these safety tips to remind motorists about some key elements of safe driving, especially relating to operating small passenger vehicles near large tractor-trailers.
- Buckle Up: Memorial Day weekend takes place during National Click It or Ticket Week. Seat belts save lives. Day or night and even if you’re riding in the back seat – wear your seat belt.
- 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.
- Do not drive impaired: There is a lot to celebrate this time of year, with graduations, weddings and holidays seemingly every weekend. With that said, driving is a great responsibility and your fellow travelers are relying on safe, attentive drivers to respectfully share the road and make good decisions.
- 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.
- 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.
The America’s Road Team, sponsored by Volvo Trucks, is a national public outreach program led by a small group of professional truck drivers who share superior driving skills, remarkable safety records and a strong desire to spread the word about safety on the highway. Follow America’s Road Team on Facebook or Twitter or visit www.americasroadteam.com.