Focus on Safety This Summer
Of the many great things about summertime, few match the fun of a family road trip. Before you hook up that new boat or camper, or hit the road with your family or friends in your car, SUV, pickup, or RV, take the time to review these summer travel safety tips. Prevention and planning may take a little time up front, but will spare you from dealing with the consequences of a breakdown—or worse yet, a highway crash—later.
Remember that long trips can be tough on children—and, in turn, tough on you. Plan enough time to stop along the way to take a group stretch, get something to eat and drink, return any calls or text messages, and change drivers if you’re feeling tired or drowsy. Consider staying overnight at a hotel or family resort. It can make the trip easier and less tiring for everyone—and more of an adventure, too. Bring along a few favorite books, videos, or soft toys to keep little ones content and occupied. The trip will seem to go faster for them, and keep you from being distracted every time they ask, “Are we there yet?”
Long-distance driving can be tedious, and it’s tempting to look for something to distract you to make the time pass faster. But when you’re the driver, your only responsibility is to keep your eyes on the road, hands on the wheel, and concentration on the task of driving. No loss of life–neither your passengers nor any other road users–are worth a phone call or text. And remember, law enforcement officers across the Nation are now using innovative strategies to aggressively enforce their State distracted driving laws.
Share the Road
Warmer weather attracts many types of roadway users, including motorcyclists, bicyclists, and pedestrians.
While they have the same rights, privileges and responsibilities as every motorist, these road users are more vulnerable because they do not have the protection of a car or truck.
Leave more distance between you and a motorcycle—3 or 4 seconds worth. Motorcycles are much lighter than other vehicles and can stop in much shorter distances.
Always signal your intentions before changing lanes or merging with traffic. This allows other road users to anticipate your movement and find a safe lane position.
Be mindful of pedestrians. Things to remember as a driver:
You can encounter pedestrians anytime and anywhere.Distracted walking is becoming part of the distracted traffic epidemic. Keep your eyes open for distracted pedestrians.Pedestrians can be very hard to see – especially in bad weather or at night.Stop for pedestrians who are in a crosswalk, even if it’s not marked. This will help drivers in the other lanes see the pedestrians in time to stop. Cars stopped in the street may be stopped to allow pedestrians to cross. Do not pass if there is any doubt. Do not assume that pedestrians can see you or that they will act predictably. They may be distracted, or physically or mentally impaired.When you are turning and waiting for a "gap" in traffic, watch for pedestrians who may have moved into your intended path. Be especially attentive around schools and in neighborhoods where children are active. Drive the way you want people to drive in front of your own home.
Avoid Risky Driving Behaviors
The focus of every driver, at all times, should be driving.
Distracted driving is anything that takes your attention away from driving. The most obvious forms of distraction are cell phone use, texting while driving, eating, drinking, talking with passengers, and using in-vehicle technologies and portable electronic devices.
Set down some safety rules with your co-drivers before you hit the road. These rules should include refraining from activities that take your eyes and attention off the road. Insist that your co-drivers agree to make every effort to move to a safe place off of the road before using a cell phone—even in an emergency.
Alcohol and drugs can impair perception, judgment, motor skills, and memory – the skills critical for safe and responsible driving. Deaths caused by impaired driving are preventable, and too many lives are tragically cut short in traffic crashes involving alcohol- and drug-impaired driving. Impaired driving not only puts the driver at risk – it threatens the lives of passengers and all others who share the road. Every year it causes the deaths of thousands of loved ones. Be responsible; don’t drink and drive. Illegal drugs, as well as prescription and over-the-counter medications, can be just as deadly on the road as alcohol. If you plan to drink, designate a sober driver before going out.
Obey all posted speed limits, or drive slower if necessary based on weather or traffic conditions.
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