WASHINGTON — The holiday season — the time from Thanksgiving through New Year’s Day — is one of the busiest of the year on America’s roadways.
According to AAA, an estimated 55.4 million people will be traveling for the Thanksgiving holiday alone, each eager to hit the road to visit family and eat some good food.
The American Trucking Associations (ATA) and professional drivers are encouraging motorists of all kinds of vehicles to practice safe driving through the Share the Road program. Since 1986, the Share the Road program has been teaching the public how to share the road with large trucks.
A Share the Road professional truck driver, Ronald Round of Bison Transport USA mentioned how his training prepared him for traveling in wintery weather conditions.
“As a truck driver from Maine, I have been trained to deal with wintery road conditions,” he said. “It is important to make sure your vehicle is prepared for extended trips. Check your wiper fluids, anti-freeze, and pack a few extra blankets before you pull out of the driveway in case of an emergency.”
Another Share The Road professional truck driver, Gina Jones, of Werner Enterprises, said about driving safely: “Given the high volume of travelers for Thanksgiving, it is important to implement safe driving measures so everyone can make it to the dinner table.” She continues, “As a professional truck driver, I am delivering all the trimmings necessary for Thanksgiving. I hope my fellow motorists will consider these safe driving when traveling to their Thanksgiving destinations.”
ATA has provided a list of safe driving tips in hopes of fewer vehicle crashes and fatalities this holiday season.
- Buckle Up — Safety belts do save lives. Day or night, and even if you are riding in the back seat — you should always wear your safety belt.
- Slow Down — When driving at higher speeds than the surrounding traffic, the chance of a crash happening nearly triples as wintery and icy conditions can make the roads slippery. Slowing down your vehicle will help you avoid losing control.
- Do not drive impaired — There is much to celebrate during the holiday season. That said, driving is a great responsibility for yourself and your fellow travelers. Rely on safe and attentive drivers to respectfully share the road and make good decisions. Always have a designated driver, even when you think you won’t need one.
- Be aware of truck blind spots — When sharing the road with large trucks, be aware and mindful of their blind spots. If you cannot see the professional truck driver in his or her mirrors, then the professional truck driver cannot see you.
- Keep your eyes on the road — Distracted driving is one of the most significant causes of traffic accidents, especially among young drivers. Even when you take your eyes off the road for two seconds, that short distraction time doubles the chances of an accident. Also, never text while driving. A text is not worth a life loss.
- Do not cut in front of large trucks — Piggybacking off the blind spots of large trucks, remember that these large trucks are heavier and take longer to make a complete stop. Avoid cutting quickly in front of them at all costs.
- Prepare your vehicle for long-distance travel — Check your wipers and fluids and have your radiator and cooling system serviced. Simple maintenance before you leave your home can prevent many problems that might leave motorists stranded on the side of the road.
- Leave early and avoid risks — Leaving for your destination earlier will allow you not to be anxious about potentially arriving late, as road conditions may change due to inclement weather or traffic congestion, causing a delay in your estimated arrival time.
- Be aware of the vehicle in front of you — Leave extra room between you and the vehicle that is ahead of you. The minimum room you should have between you and the vehicle ahead is three car lengths.
- Understand congestion patterns — High traffic volumes lead to more significant opportunities for accidents, so plan your trip around those times to avoid traffic bottlenecks and increased traffic volumes.
Born and raised in Little Rock, AR, Erica N. Guy decided to stay in her hometown to begin her professional career in journalism. Since obtaining her bachelor’s degree from UAPB, Erica has professionally written for several publications about several topics ranging from lifestyle, tech, culture, and entertainment, just to name a few. Continuing her love for her hometown, she joined our team in June 2023, where she is currently a staff writer. Her career goals include continuing storytelling through her writing by being the best professional writer she can be. In her spare time, Erica enjoys trying new foods, cozying up with a good book, spending time with family and friends, and establishing herself as a future businesswoman.