This weekend, we mark the unofficial end of summer with the Labor Day holiday. Americans will fire up the grill one more time and party at the pool for the long weekend, celebrating the hardworking men and women of our country with an extra day off. According to AAA, an estimated 34.1 million people will travel more than 50 miles to celebrate the holiday, with eighty-five percent of those people driving.
That’s a lot of people on the road! We don’t want to alarm you, but with more traffic, comes a higher number of accidents. In fact, the National Safety Council reports that each Labor Day weekend, an average of 38,800 people are treated for injuries sustained in automobile accidents. There is much you can do to prevent accidents while traveling far from home.
Obviously, the advice we frequently give is to avoid driving while distracted; put down your phone and pay attention. However, when you’re in unfamiliar territory, it is common to be fiddling with a map, GPS device, or just looking for road signs. It’s important to do as much planning as possible before you leave, don’t just wing it. Know where you’re going to the best of your ability. If you have passengers, designate someone else to navigate. Visit our past blog or Pinterest board to find out how to keep your most precious “distractions” busy in their car seats.
Another word of advice is to make certain that your car is prepared. This is even more vital as you venture out on the open road. Ensure your tires are properly inflated, your gas tank and other fluids are filled, and there are no obvious repair needs. Consider renting a car if your vehicle is not prepared to make the long haul. Pack wisely, keeping your line of vision clear, and of course, make sure your emergency kit is refreshed with necessary supplies.
Finally, everyone must take personal responsibility for their safety, and the safety of young children. Each person should be properly restrained in a seatbelt, booster, or car seat. According to the NHSTA, seatbelts are the single most effective device for saving lives; wearing a seatbelt reduces the risk of injury by fifty percent. So buckle up! Also, only drive when you are fully awake and alert; it is well documented that drowsy drivers can be equally as dangerous as those who are intoxicated. Planning ahead, again, is of vital importance.
The moral of the story is plan, prepare, and pay attention to (your car’s) performance. Regardless of where you are headed to celebrate the Labor Day weekend, we wish you a safe and fun-filled holiday!