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Truck drivers offer safe driving tips for Thanksgiving travel

road travel
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The Virginia Trucking Association, the American Trucking Associations and ATA’s Share the Road highway safety program are providing tips for safe driving ahead of the Thanksgiving weekend.

Nationally, nearly 53 million Americans are expected to travel over the road at least 50 miles or more this Thanksgiving holiday, the highest on record since 2005, according to the AAA auto club. Closer to home, AAA is predicting more than 1.4 million Virginians will be traveling over the Thanksgiving holiday.

“The high volume of travelers for Thanksgiving amplifies the importance of taking safe driving measures to ensure everyone can make it to the dinner table,” said Share the Road professional truck driver Earl Taylor of Penske Logistics. “Many families were unable to see family during the pandemic, and we want to be sure they get to their destinations safely.”

High traffic volume can contribute to congestion and a reduction in speeds. Share the Road’s award winning Instructional Video spreads truck safety messages to the millions of motorists who will be driving alongside large trucks this week. The video, featuring professional truck drivers, gives an eight-minute recap of critical safe-driving habits and has already been viewed by hundreds of thousands of motorists, including truck drivers and the general motoring public.

“The professional truck drivers in the Share the Road Instructional Video are highly-trained drivers who have accrued millions of accident-free miles. Just taking a few minutes to review some of these important safety messages can make all the difference on the road,” said VTA President & CEO Dale Bennett.

Thanksgiving offers several other driving challenges beyond traffic congestion. Winter driving presents unique problems for motorists, including high wind and blowing snow, which contribute to reduced visibility in many regions throughout Virginia and North America. Similarly, freezing temperatures can have a profound impact on vehicles and roadways. A thorough pre-trip inspection and understanding of driving conditions can play a significant role in driving success this holiday season.

“As a veteran truck driver, I have been trained to deal with wintery conditions on the road,” said Share the Road professional truck driver Steve Fields, of Yellow. “It’s important to make sure your vehicle is prepared for extended trips. Check your wiper fluids, antifreeze, and pack a few extra blankets before you pull out of the driveway in case of emergency.”

Share the Road professional drivers recommend these safety tips to drivers and would like to remind motorists about some key elements of safe driving, including how to operate small passenger vehicles near large tractor-trailers:

  • Buckle Up: A seat belt will not prevent a collision, but it will save a life.
  • Remove ice and snow from your vehicle: Clear your windows and roof of snow to ensure 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.
  • Slow Down: Chances of a crash nearly triples when driving faster than surrounding traffic.
  • Do not drive impaired: 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: Trucks deliver your favorite Thanksgiving traditions – turkeys, cranberries, mashed potatoes, and all kinds of tasty pies – so make it easy on them by staying out of blind spots. Pass on the left where the truck’s blind spot is much smaller.
  • Keep your eyes on the road: Distracted driving is a major cause of traffic accidents and one of the leading causes of death amongst teenagers. 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. Fully loaded tractor-trailers can take the length of a football field plus both end zones to make a complete stop. Ask your favorite quarterback how far that is. Hint: it’s far.
  • Prepare your vehicle for long distance travel: Before you head out to your aunts, uncles and cousins, check your wipers and fluids and 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.
  • Prepare yourself for long distance travel: The vehicle needs maintenance, and the driver needs plenty of rest and hydration to function at his or her best. If the turkey is making you feel drowsy, pull over and wait until you are more alert.
  • Leave early and avoid risks: Leave early to reduce anxiety 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.