Arlington, Virginia -- American Trucking Associations and ATA’s Share the Road highway safety program encourage safe driving ahead of record holiday travel over the next few weeks.
Almost 110 million people will travel between December 23 and January 2, up 34 percent from 2020, according to the AAA auto club.
“It is important to put safety first while driving on the highways to ensure everyone can enjoy the holidays,” said ATA Share the Road professional truck driver Henry Bruster of TForce Freight. “As a family man and a professional truck driver, I am one of the last drivers on the road, delivering everything necessary to make the holidays shine bright.”
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 season. 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.
“Everyone is making up for lost time during the holidays and driving to see friends and family they missed during the height of the pandemic, so awareness about safe driving measures are more important than ever,” said ATA Executive Vice President of Industry Affairs Elisabeth Barna. “We encourage all motorists to consider safety as they head out to celebrate with family and friends.”
Inclement weather, including high wind, blowing snow, and ice, is common this time of year in many regions throughout North America. This reduced visibility and potential for 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 safe driving while you travel.
“Driving in wintery conditions can be scary, but as a veteran professional driver, I know it’s possible to be prepared in case of an emergency,” said Share the Road professional truck driver Rhonda Hartman, Old Dominion Freight Line. “Check your wiper fluids, antifreeze, and pack a few extra blankets before you leave home.”
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.
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