Summer Road Safety

Source: Cathy Yeulit/123RF

With the official start of summer, and stay-at-home restrictions being eased, Americans are beginning to hit the road for some summer FUN.

The National Highway Safety Transportation Administration (NHTSA) recommends that drivers and passengers avoid distractions, stay sober, always wear a seat belt and make sure that children are in the correct car seat or booster seat.

Here are the stark facts: there were 33,654 fatal motor vehicle crashes in the United States in 2018 in which 36,560 deaths occurred. This resulted in 11.2 deaths per 100,000 people and 1.13 deaths per 100 million miles traveled.

Prevention and planning may take a little time upfront but will spare you from dealing with the consequences of a breakdown—or worse yet, a highway crash—later.

Most importantly, regular maintenance such as tune-ups, oil changes, battery checks, and tire rotations go a long way toward preventing breakdowns.

If your vehicle has been serviced according to the manufacturer’s recommendations, it should be in good condition to travel. If not—or you don’t know the service history of the vehicle you plan to drive—schedule a preventive maintenance checkup with your mechanic right away.

Before heading out, make sure to check the weather, road conditions, and traffic. Don’t rush through your trip, and allow plenty of time to get to your destination safely.

And always familiarize yourself with directions and maps before you go, even if you use a GPS system, and let others know your route and anticipated arrival time.

Make sure each tire is filled to the vehicle manufacturer’s recommended inflation pressure, which is listed in your owner’s manual and on a placard located on the driver’s side door frame.

The correct pressure is NOT the number listed on the tire. Be sure to check tires when they are cold, which means the car hasn’t been driven for at least three hours.

Make sure you’ve had plenty of sleep/rest before embarking on that journey.

Buckle Up. Every Trip. Every Time. Ensure that everyone else in your vehicle is buckled-up in age- and size-appropriate car seats, booster seats, or seat belts.

Sharing the road is critical:

Warmer weather attracts many types of road users, including motorcyclists, bicyclists, and pedestrians. While they have the same rights, privileges, and responsibilities as every driver, these road users are more vulnerable because they do not have the protection of a car or truck.

Things to remember as a driver:

  • Leave more distance between you and a motorcycle—three or four seconds worth;
  • Keep your eyes open for distracted pedestrians;
  • Stop for pedestrians and bicyclists who are in a crosswalk, even if it’s not marked;
  • Cars stopped in the street may be stopped to allow pedestrians and bicyclists to cross. Do not pass if there is any doubt;
  • When you are turning and waiting for a gap in traffic, watch for pedestrians and bicyclists who may have moved into your intended path; and
  • Be especially attentive around schools and in neighborhoods where children are active.

Check out the NHTSA’s Summer Driving Tips for more information.

Enjoy your well-deserved break! Stay Safe!

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