Truckers offer safe travel tips for the holidays
With record traffic expected on the road this Thanksgiving season, elite truck drivers urge caution, patience.
Professional truck drivers are urging caution and patience on the roadways this holiday season, as more drivers take to the open road over the next few days.
Nearly 50 million Americans are expected to travel over the road at least 50 miles or more this Thanksgiving, the most since 2005 and a nearly 3% increase over last year, according to the AAA auto club. To help keep the roads safe, members of the American Trucking Associations (ATA) and America's Road Team—a group of elite truck drivers with millions of miles of accident-free driving under their belts—are tapping into their vast experience to offer tips for a safe and sound journey.
"Thanksgiving is about being with your family," America's Road Team Captain Scott Davis, of ABF Freight System, Inc., said in a statement this week. "This also means that we'll see a rise in highway traffic, with many motorists driving in unfamiliar areas. Caution and patience is especially important so we all arrive safely to our loved ones."
ATA and America's Road Team offered the following safe driving tips as a public service this week:
- Prepare your vehicle for long distance travel. Check your wipers and fluids. Have your radiator and cooling system serviced. Simple maintenance can prevent many of the problems that strand motorists on the side of the road before you leave your home.
- Plan ahead. Before you get on a highway, know your exit by name and number, and watch the signs as you near the off-ramp. Drivers making unexpected lane changes to exit often cause accidents.
- Use a map or GPS. Surprisingly, few motorists plan their routes, even when driving through unfamiliar areas. Knowing the road is essential for safe driving—it allows you to anticipate lane changes and avoid a panicked search for directions.
- Check your emergency kit. Contents should include: battery-powered radio, flashlight, blanket, jumper cables, fire extinguisher, first aid kit, bottled water, non-perishable foods, maps, tire repair kit, and flares.
- Be aware of changes in weather. Weather conditions across the U.S. will be changing—especially during early mornings and evenings with the cold. With storms crossing the country, watch for ice, snow, and other weather-related obstacles. Also, remember the weather can change dramatically from when you start your trip to when you end. Bring a sweater and watch for the signs.
- 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.
- Thanksgiving is the most traveled holiday, and more motorists create additional obstacles—be sure to use extra caution. Leave early so you won't be anxious about arriving late and to accommodate delays. Road conditions may change due to inclement weather or traffic congestion.
- Know your limitations. Don't drive when tired, upset, or physically ill. Remember, when traveling in a car, you are in control and can take a break if needed.
- Buckle up. Safety belts reduce the risk of fatal injury by 45% and are a simple way to increase your safety on the road.
Truckers say they'll be doing their part to keep the roadways safe this holiday as they deliver more than 46 million turkeys and more than 3.1 billion pounds of potatoes, the most popular side dish of the season.
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