CHARLOTTE, NC – With Labor Day weekend road travel expected to be heavier than last year, AAA Carolinas is offering motorists safety tips before and during their holiday trip.
AAA advises motorists to plan ahead and try to avoid the busiest travel times on the roads.
“The busiest travel times will be Friday during rush hour and all day Monday,” said Tiffany Wright, AAA Carolinas spokesperson. “If you’re not able to avoid that congestion, just realize it will take longer to reach your destination and practice patience behind the wheel.”
Last year during the Labor Day period, North Carolina had 3,032 reported crashes resulting in 17 fatalities (down from last year’s 23) according to the NCDOT. South Carolina reported 993 collisions resulting in 12 fatalities (doubling last year’s number) and 476 injuries, according to SCDPS.
“Don’t drink and drive, don’t speed, buckle up and avoid distractions as you travel this holiday weekend,” added Wright.
BEFORE HITTING THE ROAD:
- Ensure your vehicle is properly maintained. Check the battery life, engine coolant and tire pressure.
- Map your route in advance. Have the directions printed out or designate a passenger to be in charge of phone directions to avoid the distraction behind the wheel.
- Consider leaving earlier or later to avoid heavy traffic.
- Keep anything of value in the trunk or hidden in the car so that it is not visible through the windows.
- If you’re traveling with children, remind them not to talk to strangers on your pit-stops and accompany them to restrooms during stops.
- Have roadside assistance contact information on hand, in case an incident occurs on the road.
- Keep a cell phone (fully charged) safely secured in your vehicle for emergency calls.
- Have an emergency kit complete with water, medicine, snacks, jumper cables and a first aid kit.
SECURE YOUR LOAD:
- Tie down load with rope, netting or straps.
- Tie large objects directly to the vehicle or trailer.
- Cover the entire load with a sturdy tarp or netting.
- Layer your load: put lighter items at the bottom and heavier items on top to help keep them in place, then secure the heavy top items.
- Don’t overload your vehicle (take multiple trips when necessary).
- Always double-check your load for secureness.
Debris related crashes are much more likely to occur on Interstate highways and nearly 37 percent of all deaths in road debris crashes resulted from the driver swerving to avoid hitting an object. Overcorrecting at the last minute to avoid debris can increase a driver’s risk of losing control of the vehicle and make a bad situation worse.
DURING THE TRIP:
- Never drive distracted. Put the phone away. Disconnect and Drive. Avoid behaviors such as eating, applying make-up and adjusting the navigation system while driving.
- Always wear your seatbelt.
- Don’t speed. Drive according to the weather and road conditions.
- With rain forecasted in some parts of the Carolinas, use caution when driving on wet roads:
- Avoid cruise control (when driving in wet conditions, the chance of losing control of the vehicle increases in cruise control mode)
- Slow down and leave room. Avoid hard braking or turning sharply and give yourself ample stopping distance between cars by increasing the following distance.
- If you feel your car begin to skid, continue to look and steer in the direction in which you want the car to go and avoid slamming on the brakes as this will upset balance.
- Expect heavy traffic and delays, as the roads will be busy. Avoid road rage by using turn signals, maintaining a good distance behind the vehicle in front of you and never engaging in interactions with other drivers. Exercise patience and understanding.
- Never drink and drive or get in a vehicle with a driver who has been drinking.
- Obey the Move Over Law when passing emergency vehicles on the side of the road.