Washington – Today, American Trucking Associations and ATA’s Share the Road highway safety program are advising Memorial Day travelers to take extra driving precautions throughout the busy Memorial Day weekend.
“We are all able to travel along America’s open roads because brave men and women sacrificed their lives to preserve our freedoms,” said Share the Road Professional Truck Driver Sammy Brewster of ABF Freight. “During my time in the Army, one of the lessons they instilled in us was a dedication to safety. As a professional truck driver who spends my days on our nation’s roads, I ask all Memorial Day travelers to be extra diligent this weekend.”
Traditionally, Memorial Day weekend is the start of the summer travel season, and family and friends are itching to reconnect during the holiday. AAA predicts 39.2 million people will travel 50 miles or more from home this weekend. This year almost matches pre-pandemic levels with an increase of 8.3% over 2021, bringing travel volumes almost in line with those in 2017. Therefore, it is crucial for drivers to practice patience, planning, and safety fundamentals.
As America remembers the fallen heroes who fought to secure the country’s freedoms, the professional trucking industry pays respect by reaffirming its strong commitment to safety this weekend. Highly trained professional truck drivers make this weekend possible by moving more than $700 billion worth of freight each year. That would include your Memorial Day must haves like grilling supplies, food and beverages, pool floats and tubes, goggles, baseball gloves, sunscreen and patio furniture. We ask that you join the trucking industry’s initiative to make travel this Memorial Day weekend safe.
“Professional truck drivers are responsible for making safe decisions every moment of our workdays, and we want to equip other drivers with the same helpful information that we have,” said Share the Road Professional Truck Driver Bill McNamee of Carbon Express. “By following a few basic safety protocols, members of the motoring public can ensure that everyone makes it home safely this weekend”.
Share the Road’s professional 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 during 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.
- 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. 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 much to celebrate this time of year, including graduations, and holidays seemingly every weekend. With that said, driving is a great responsibility, and your fellow travelers are relying on safe and 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 professional truck driver in his or her mirrors, then the professional 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. Only 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 might 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.