The unofficial start of summer fun kicks off with family vacations and road trips on Memorial Day weekend. As the fun approaches, it is a good idea to keep safety in mind, especially on the roads, which are more heavily traveled on holiday weekends.
During this high-traffic period, studies indicate that road safety laws are broken at a greater rate than usual. The sheer amount of vehicles on the road is an obvious factor. More cars mean more potential accidents. However, studies show that many holiday-related factors combine to alter driver behavior. These factors are worth some consideration as your Memorial Day holiday drive approaches.
Plan for Traffic
Clogged roads, which are a staple of summer holiday weekends in the U.S., tempt drivers to make up for traffic delays in ill-advised ways. Often, rushed and excited vacationers allow their frustration with heavy traffic to outweigh a commitment to sound driving decisions.
Increases in drivers speeding and running red lights occur when people try to make the most of their time off by arriving at their destination as quickly as possible. Frustration with heavy traffic often influences this impulsive behavior.
At any time of the year, regardless of impending plans or traffic conditions, it is always best to obey traffic laws and maintain other safe driving habits. This is especially true when sharing the roads with cars filled with like-minded people. The single best way to avoid a stressful drive is to leave yourself plenty of extra travel time.
Plan for Your Vehicle
Another good tip is to prepare your vehicle for a long trip. Having your car checked out is the best way to insure that you do not hit time snares as a result of car trouble. It also makes your drive as safe as possible to address any issues with tires or brakes that need attention. Make sure to familiarize yourself with your car, especially if it is a rental or if it is your first time taking it on a long drive. Some features, such as cruise control and blind spot indicators, can come in handy, but only if they are used safely.
Plan for Your Body and Mind
It is important to take care of yourself. It is no overstatement to say that a long, traffic-filled drive can be taxing on your mind and body. Make sure to pack snacks and keep yourself hydrated. Plan to take breaks and stretch to avoid fatigue and reduce stress. Keep your passengers happy as well with breaks, refreshments, and planned activities. These preparations can heed off frustration and driver distraction caused by a bored or cranky child. Above all, remind yourself that it is undoubtedly better to get there safe, rather than early.
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