Arlington, Va. – Today, American Trucking Associations and ATA's Share the Road highway safety program are encouraging Memorial Day travelers to focus on safe driving habits throughout this busy holiday weekend.
"The fallen heroes who fought for our freedom served so that we could enjoy the comforts and safety of life in America, including the safe highways that we travel each day," said Share the Road professional truck driver Ron Vandermark of UPS. "Truck drivers, like me, who continue to deliver goods during this holiday weekend, hope that all motorists will go to great lengths to ensure safety."
The complexity of the COVID-19 crisis makes it difficult to forecast traffic volumes this Memorial Day. However, as many states begin taking steps to lift restrictions and reopen, coinciding with what is typically the start of the summer travel season, this is a critical time for motorists to practice patience, planning and safety fundamentals. Moreover, data shows that the recent declines in traffic from COVID-19 lockdowns has led to disproportionate increases in speeding, reckless driving and fatal accidents.
“By following a few basic safety protocols, members of the motoring public can ensure that everyone makes it home safely this weekend,” said Share the Road professional truck driver Gary Martin of FedEx Ground. Vandermark and Martin encourage the motoring public to heed these tips:
- Buckle Up: Safety belts save lives. Day or night and even if you’re riding in the back seat – wear your safety belt.
- Slow Down: Chance 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.
- 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, especially among younger drivers. 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.
- Understand congestion patterns: High traffic volumes lead to greater opportunities for accidents, so plan your trip to avoid traffic bottlenecks and increased traffic volumes.
Share the Road professional truck drivers promote these safety tips to motorists, students, members of the media and elected officials throughout the country while on tour with the Share the Road program. They emphasize these tips around major US holidays to remind motorists of all ages about key elements of safe driving, especially relating to operating small passenger vehicles near large tractor-trailers.
As America remembers its fallen heroes who fought for our country’s freedoms, the trucking industry pays its respects by reaffirming its strong commitment to safety this weekend. Highly-trained professional truck drivers are responsible for moving more than $700 billion worth of freight each year. A day in the life of a professional truck driver can vary day to day, but ensuring safety is always the number one priority.