Memorial Day weekend is just ahead and for many it may mean getting out on the road for that first long holiday weekend of the summer. With more people traveling over the holiday weekend, it’s more important than ever to drive safely. This is especially true given both heavy traffic and possible road closures due to fires that are already plaguing the roads north out of Phoenix.
Some of the simplest tips are often easily overlooked so they deserve mention anyway.
- Be well rested and alert. Don’t wear headphones while driving. Don’t text and drive. Don’t talk on a cell phone while driving and if you must, at least use a hands free phone system.
- Use your seat belts and keep you seat upright. Keep feet down off the dash and out of the window.
- Observe speed limits and follow the rules of the road. Law enforcement closely monitors speed limits and excessive lane changes.
- Do not drink and drive. Make sure your driver is sober and do not have any open alcohol containers in the passenger compartment.
FIVE STEPS TO HIGHWAY SAFETY
1. Maintain sufficient space between you and traffic ahead of you. This means don’t follow another vehicle too closely. Although unexpected, even freeway traffic can come to an immediate or emergency stop ahead of you. Vehicles ahead of you may brake for a number of unforeseen reasons: debris in the road, animals, an accident ahead, etc. With so many large vehicles and/or tinted windows, we often cannot see through or around the vehicle ahead of us so as to anticipate possible problems
2. Pay attention – avoid distractions such as cell phones. Even hands free sets require that you do something to dial or answer and such actions can be distracting. Changing CD’s while driving can be distracting as well, as can eating and drinking.
3. Turn the headlights on as dusk approaches or in bad weather. Make it easier for other vehicles to take notice of you. Don’t overdrive your headlights.
4. Make frequent stops. During long trips, rotate drivers. If you’re too tired to drive, stop and get some rest.
5. If you have car trouble, pull off the road as far as possible and try and activate something to provide notice that you are disable: emergency flashers, open truck or hood, red flag, etc.
TRAVEL PREPAREDNESS TIPS Pay attention to the weather forecast for your destination. Travel and weather web sites can help you avoid storms and other regional challenges that could impact your safety. Other things you should do to prepare for your trip include:
1. Don’t let your vehicle’s gas tank get too low. Monitor how far to the next service station.
2. Carry a Disaster Supply kit in your trunk, to include water for drinking and for the engine, a red falg for emergency, jumper cables, etc.
3. Let someone know your destination, your route, and when you expect to arrive. If your car gets stuck along the way, help can be sent along your predetermined route. Map out your trip in advance. Print out directions or program a portable GPS
4. Pay attention to the weather forecast for your destination and find out what disasters may occur there and/or along the way, such as road closures due to storms, accidents, fires, etc.
5. Have enough money in case of emergency for such unexpected possibilities like a tow truck, auto garage, hotel/motel, etc.
6. Pack appropriately, Weather can vary greatly within hours of Phoenix so check ahead of time.
Now go and enjoy … safely.