The Memorial Day weekend is thought of as the official beginning of summer. Many people decide to use this weekend to take a vacation and travel. Unfortunately, more travelers mean more traffic and more accidents. Not everyone is careful when they drive so it is important that you, as a truck driver, pay extra attention and drive safely so that you can get your job done in time.
According to the AAA, last year, around 37 million travelers got on the road. Orlando, New York and Las Vegas were the top destinations in 2019.
The estimated number of accidents during this holiday weekend has been between 300 and 400 in the past years. The presence of COVID-19 makes it hard to predict the numbers this year since many parking lots and restaurants are still closed, some beaches are reopened but only to a certain capacity, all of this will probably have an impact on this year’s Memorial Day weekend and the number of people who will choose to travel. If there is an increase in travelers and cars on roads, though, you should pay extra attention on the road this weekend.
Here are some tips on how to stay safe on the road during the Memorial Day weekend.
- While conducting your pre-trip inspection be especially mindful of the fluid levels and the pressure in your tires, especially if you are driving through regions with hot weather.
- Be sure to wear your seatbelt and slow down, roadside inspections will probably be higher over the holiday, so stay safe and don’t risk getting a fine.
- Be aware of your blind spots and be extra careful when changing lanes, use your signals and be mindful of other drivers and especially motorcyclists, who might be hard to spot.
- Modify your driving based on the road conditions, traffic and weather conditions.
- Do not drive under the influence or get distracted by texting or using your phone, and pay attention to the road. It is very important to stay focused and do your job safely and on time.
- Leave extra room between you and the vehicle ahead. There should always be enough room for a fast reaction with low risks. We can’t predict how other drivers will behave, if they are distracted or not, the only thing we have control over is the way we drive and act.
- Leave early and avoid getting stuck in traffic. Planning that there will be some traffic jams over the weekend is a safer way to prepare and get to your destination in time.
- If a vehicle is getting too close to your truck, try to give them space to pass you, it is better to help out, even the impatient drivers, than to get involved in an accident.
- Make sure you stay away from low clearances. Double-check your route before getting on the road to avoid getting into tough situations and tight spaces. It will only add pressure and stress on top of the crazy traffic jams and staying focused in order to finish the job in time and as safely as possible.
- Be sure to take breaks for food and for rest. Staying rested and healthy is very important in this line of work, and this weekend is no exception.
- Be sure that your load is secured properly and that you have all your emergency gear.
- If you have to park your truck and leave it for a while, be sure to lock everything. It is better to be safe than sorry, considering that the holidays are usually when the theft numbers are increased.
All of these tips should apply before and after the holiday season too. The only reason why we feel it is important to mention them now is the possibility of the traffic getting more congested, people being distracted and in a rush to get to their vacation spots and accident numbers going higher. It is always important to stay focused on the road, be aware of your surroundings, the size, weight and power your truck has, double-checking your blind spots, doing your pre-trip inspections and getting prepared for the road. And even though it is almost impossible to make predictions about how many people will decide to travel over the Memorial Day weekend this year, you should assume that there will be an increase in traffic, and prepare accordingly. We hope you have a stress free Memorial Day weekend, stay safe and keep your eyes on the road.